The Problem With Liberalism Is That Eventually You Run Out Of Other People's Money!

by FRANK HILL February 15, 2013

People under the age of 40 in America probably know very little about Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of England.

You should. She said a lot of things like the title of this posting that made sense, especially when it came to government debt, over-spending and high taxes. All of which those of you under the age of 40 are going to have to deal with for the rest of your lives.

Unless you collectively do something about it. Such as vote against candidates and incumbents who want more of all three and start voting for people who are against all three.

It is up to you. Not your parents, your grandparents or anyone who might not be around 40 years from now. Certainly it is not up to President Barack Obama who doesn't even feign concern about anything that will seriously address our burgeoning deficits or debt.

Just today on the Sunday morning talk shows, Minority House Leader Nancy Pelosi once again said: 'It is a false argument to say we have a spending problem'.

What planet are such people coming from anyway?

Maggie Thatcher presaged the election of Ronald Reagan as the American President in 1980 by about 8 months. It used to be said that what happened on 'the other side of the pond' in British politics influenced what happens on our side of the pond soon thereafter.

Wonder when the next Maggie Thatcher will erupt on the British political scene? Soon we hope.

Let's look at what her pithy comment is really saying at its core:

'The problem with liberalism is that eventually you run out of other people's money'.

  1. There is an inherent assumption by big government believers that there is an unlimited supply of money that can be taken 'from other people' (not me!) in any tax proposal for more government spending at any level.
  2. 'Rich people can afford it' is another generally-accepted notion behind any new proposal to use other people's money for something you want to see done.
  3. Nothing will change in the behavior, spending or tax-avoidance proclivities of anyone in the targeted tax category after the new tax is imposed or expanded to pay for the new program. As in 'the rich people won't hide their income from taxes and just willingly pay it because we told them so'.
  4. People who are taxed will 'willingly' pay for the new program simply because you think 'it is the right thing to do!'
  5. People who want more government really believe spending more money on any federal program will solve all of our targeted problems. 

'If we just had more money...' is one of the key presumptions of most big government advocates who support any and all government programs.

The United States has spent tens of trillions of dollars on an inflation-adjusted basis over the past 50 years beginning with LBJ's 'War On Poverty' programs in 1964...and we have 46 million fellow Americans still mired in poverty in 2013. 15% of the population. (Here's an interesting article on poverty and how it is calculated that might ring your bells some: Tim Worstall)

What Margaret Thatcher brought to England in 1979 and Ronald Reagan brought to the United States in 1980 was a clear-eyed vision that more freedom and more free-enterprise gives everyone more opportunity to enhance their own station in life than more government, taxes, regulations and debt were doing at the time. Or ever can do really.

For some reason, we have been spared the severe painful side effects that usually accompany out-of-control spending and massive accumulation of national debt: rampant inflation and depreciation of currency value. Maybe all of the QE-1,2 and 3 quantitative easing and purchasing of bad mortgage debt from financial institutions by the FED has forestalled the day of reckoning til later.


All we know is that we saw what happens when government bungles its fiduciary duty to our nation in abundance from 1978-1982 when inflation hit 12% per year in America and interest rates sky-rocketed to 21%. Don't kid yourself, we Americans are not totally immune to the immutable laws of economics and physics 'just because we are Americans.'

It could happen here again.  We would prefer to take proactive steps to avoid it happening again because it is most detrimental to the elderly and the poor and the young, the very people the liberals purport to want to help all the time.

We think now is the time for a strong-minded leader to bring confidence to the American economy and world markets by working with Congress to pass a comprehensive spending reduction bill that will drive our deficits to balance by 2020 and remove the impediments to our economic growth today which includes tax reform and moderating the impact of Obamacare on our nation's business.

With the rest of the world's economies in shambles or at least in question such as the EU, now should be the golden opportunity for the United States to regain firm control as the economic and moral superpower in the world once again. The sooner we get our act together, which means decisive leadership from the White House in Washington, the sooner we can all get back to work and living somewhat 'normal' lives again as was the case before 2008.

That leader has to be President Barack Obama. We won't have another president for the next 4 years. Otherwise, we will have to wait for an adult to come into the White House in 2017 to help clean up the mess like the parent who goes to Mexico for an extended vacation only to come home to find out you have held not one, but two huge parties with your entire high school student body on successive weekends.

Republicans are typically viewed as 'The Parents'. The Democrats as the Teenagers who throw 'The Party'.

The new Governor of North Carolina , Pat McCrory and his new team uncovered $1.4 billion in Medicaid spending that was over budget for the past 3 years under the previous Democrat Administration...in their first 2 weeks in office. Talk about parents coming in to clean up a mess fast.

We have run out of money and we are about to run out of time to fix the problems that ail us. Maggie Thatcher had it right.  It is about time we heed her sage advice.

Contributing Editor Frank Hill ran for Congress at the age of 28 and served as chief of staff for former Congressman Alex McMillan (NC-9) and Senator Elizabeth Dole (NC). He was a budget associate on the House Budget Committee for 4 years and worked on the 1994 Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform. He now lives in Charlotte, North Carolina where he does some consulting and lots of worrying about federal spending issues.


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