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  Road to the Middle Class
Tuesday June 30, 2015 
by Christopher Chantrill Follow chrischantrill on Twitter

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 BLOG:

It's the Pensions, Stupid.

ON July 5, writes John Fund, "the Greek people will be asked to make a choice: either 'surrender' and give in to cuts in pensions and higher taxes or refuse and perhaps be forced to exit the euro and go back to a depreciated drachma as their national currency."

The Greek people are of one mind on all this. About 80 percent of them want to stay in the Euro; and about 80 percent of them are opposed to "austerity" spending cuts and tax increases.

So the Greeks aren't much different from Americans. We Americans all demand our entitlements and benefits but we don't want to pay for them.

Here's Cliff Taylor in the Irish Times talking about the difference between the Irish "austerity" and the Greek "austerity." Both countries did a pretty good job of "in terms of cutting borrowing" but to reduce debt you need high growth.

The problem is that Greece never got momentum moving firmly in the right direction; it never got around the corner. As the crisis took hold, its debt level shot up, reaching more than 170 per cent of GDP. Reducing such a high debt level requires high growth (along with a bit of inflation) and a big surplus on the government’s annual budget, excluding debt costs.
This ought to be obvious. You can't have a flourishing, prosperous nation state unless you have economic growth.

Ireland, on the other hand, started the crisis with very low national debt, so it was able to get "around the corner" and resume growth in 2012.

Of course, you can't really have high growth if you are burdening your economy with e.g. Obamacare.

So let us try and understand the problem of the modern administrative welfare state.

The problem is really very simple. The whole idea is to tax the country up to the limit that is politically possible, and distribute the revenue in entitlements and subsidies. Usually, however, the government borrows a little to sweeten the pot a little. Since this works pretty well in normal times everybody is happy.

But the truth is that when you get into debt you are making a bet against the future that cannot go wrong. You must have the income to make your payments; otherwise you get into a world of hurt.

This is obvious in personal finances. People that mortgage themselves up to the hilt get wiped out if they lose a job.

The same thing applies to administrative welfare states. When there's a recession or a crash they must continue to pay their normal entitlements to pensioners plus their free health care and free education, but must also increase their welfare expenditures substantially to take care of all the people thrown out of work. All this on reduced revenues because of the recession. This wouldn't matter if, say, the government was collected and spending about 10% of GDP. But at 40% of GDP you can't really afford a recession, because you already are paying entitlements to tons of people to do nothing. Now you need to bail out the banks and also pay the unemployed.

The solution is pretty simple: privatize all pensions, privatize health care and education. No more "defined benefit" pensions. Then the state can weather a crash and a depression by borrowing. No problem.

But of course no modern state is going to do that because every state that ever was has maintained itself by paying pensions to its supporters.

Either way, for nations and for individuals, don't ever forget that when you contract a debt you are making a bet that you'll repay before the downside hits. Because the downside for a debtor means that you get wiped out.

The thing to watch in the Greek crisis is how the bank depositors get screwed. In Argentina in 2002 they wiped out the depositors, and in Cyprus they gave them a haircut. The buzz-word is "bail-in."


perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 06/29/15 11:41 am ET


The "Frozen" Girls "Inside Out" the Boat

AT the end of The Boys in the Boat, Daniel James Brown's book about the University of Washington varsity crew that went to the 1936 Berlin Olympics, oarsman Joe Rantz marries Joyce, his faithful high-school sweetheart, and lives happily ever after. The Boys in the Boat is narrative non-fiction that mixes male athletic competition with the hard-scrabble story of Joe Rantz and the horrible fact ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 06/26/15 11:25 am ET


The Chantrill Rule on Debt

DEBT is a big deal these days, what with the National Debt, the Greek debt, the student debt. And who can forget that the current sluggish Obama economy is a consequence of the Big One, the mortgage debt meltdown of 2007-09 and the Crash of 2008? Today Victor Davis Hanson is writing at National Review about the current concept of debt, which is that you really don't have to pay if you are a ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 06/25/15 8:29 am ET


From the Confederate Battle Flag to the Boys in the Boat

THE flap about the Confederate battle flag brings out the admiration in me. How do liberals do it? One liberal writer brings up the issue of the Confederate battle flag, that featured in the on-line rantings of the racist killer Dylann Roof, and immediately 30 million liberal hearts are beating as one to demand that the flag be taken down at the South Carolina statehouse. Imagine if ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 06/24/15 7:52 am ET


|  June blogs  |  May blogs  |

 FEATURED:

“I Want a President”

Georg Simmel’s Sociology

Charles Murray’s By The People

Thomas Piketty’s Capital

The Spirit Level

McCloskey’s “Bourgeois Era”

 DOWNLOAD

Download latest e-book draft here.

 MANIFESTO

A New Manifesto
A spectre is haunting the liberal elite—the spectre of conservatism.

 DRAFT CHAPTERS

The Crisis of the Administrative State
It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Government and the Technology of Power
If you scratch a social reformer, you will likely discover a plan for more government.

Business, Slavery, and Trust
Business is all about trust and relationship.

Humanity's Big Problem: Freebooters and Freeloaders
The modern welfare state encourages freeloaders.

The Bonds of Faith
No society known to anthropology or history lacked religion.

A Critique of Social Mechanics
The problem with human society reduced to system.

The Paradox of Individualism
Is individualism the gospel of selfishness or something else?

From Multitude to Civil Society
The larger the government, the smaller the society.

The Answer is Civil Society
In between the separated powers.

The Greater Separation of Powers
If you want to limit power then you must limit power.

Conservatism Three by Three
Conservatism, political, economics, and cultural.

The Culture of Involvement
Imagining lives without the welfare state

The Poor Without the Welfare State
Can the poor thrive without the welfare state?

The Middle Class Without The Welfare State
How would the middle class live without all those middle-class entitlements?

Liberals and the Welfare State
Liberals, the ruling class of the administrative welfare state.

From Freeloaders to Free Givers
The path to the future lies through moral movements.

The Real Meaning of Society
Broadening the horizon of cooperation in the “last best hope of man on earth.”

conservative manifesto

Opeds


 AAM BOOKS


AAM Books on Education

Andrew Coulson, Market Education
How universal literacy was achieved before government education

Carl Kaestle, Pillars of the Republic
How we got our education system

James Tooley, The Miseducation of Women
How the feminists wrecked education for boys and for girls

James Tooley, Reclaiming Education
How only a market in education will provide opportunity for the poor

E.G. West, Education and the State
How education was doing fine before the government muscled in


AAM Books on Law

Hernando De Soto, The Mystery of Capital
How ordinary people in the United States wrote the law during the 19th century

F. A. Hayek, Law Legislation and Liberty, Vol 1
How to build a society based upon law

Henry Maine, Ancient Law
How the movement of progressive peoples is from status to contract

John Zane, The Story of Law
How law developed from early times down to the present


AAM Books on Mutual Aid

James Bartholomew, The Welfare State We're In
How the welfare state makes crime, education, families, and health care worse.

David Beito, From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State
How ordinary people built a sturdy social safety net in the 19th century

David Green, Before Beveridge: Welfare Before the Welfare State
How ordinary people built themselves a sturdy safety net before the welfare state

Theda Skocpol, Diminished Democracy
How the US used to thrive under membership associations and could do again

David Stevenson, The Origins of Freemasonry
How modern freemasonry got started in Scotland


AAM Books on Religion

David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing
How Christianity is booming in China

Finke & Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990
How the United States grew into a religious nation

Robert William Fogel, The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism
How progressives must act fast if they want to save the welfare state

David Martin, Pentecostalism: The World Their Parish
How Pentecostalism is spreading across the world


 READINGS

15 Reasons ‘Marriage Equality’ Is About Neither
instead, it will grow the state.

Debt and Austerity: Greece and Ireland
an Irish journalists compares Greece and Ireland in the welfare state austerity stakes.

America's Ruling Class -- And the Perils of Revolution
Angelo Codevilla's seminal piece on America's ruling class.

Hatemongering in Obamaville
"hate is lightning in a bottle" which is why politicians exploit it.

Hillary Will Glide Above It All
Peggy Noonan tells us how Democratic Party discipline works.

> archive

 CCWUD PROJECT

cruel . corrupt . wasteful
unjust . deluded


 


 THE BOOK

After a year of President Obama most Americans understand that the nation is on the wrong track. But how do we find the right track? Americans knew thirty years ago that liberalism was a busted flush. Yet Reaganism and Bushism seemed to be less than the best answer.

But where can we turn? Where are the thinkers and activists of the old days? Where do we find the best ideas? And how do we persuade our present ruling class to loosen its grip on power so that we can move the locomotive of state back onto the right track?

With all of our problems it seems like the worst of times.

In fact, this is the best of times. Under the radar a generation of great thinkers have been figuring out what went wrong and conjuring up visions of a better future. This book, "An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism" is an introduction to their ideas, and to the great future that awaits an America willing to respond to their call.

Although this book is addressed to all Americans, conservative, moderate, and liberal, and looks to a nation that transcends our present partisan divide, I must tell you that liberals will have the most difficulty with the book. The reason is simple. I am asking liberals to give up a lot of the power they have amassed in the last century. But we are all Americans, and we must all give up something for the sake of the greater good.

 THE BLOG

I am Christopher Chantrill and I am writing this book in full view. I'll be blogging on the process and the ideas, and I'll be asking you, dear readers, to help. Read the blog. Read the articles as they come out on American Thinker and ponder over the draft chapters here on this site.

Then send me your reactions, your thoughts, and your comments. You will help more than you know.

 TAGS


What Liberals Think About Conservatives

[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. “Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists,” she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican


Racial Discrimination

[T]he way “to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,” Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District


Liberal Coercion

[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State


Taking Responsibility

[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050


Responsible Self

[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.


Churches

[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm


Sacrifice

[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values


 

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