By David Lewis
Within the socialist model is a segment of the populace conditioned to rely on government-provided entitlements. These individuals form a political base that politicians pander to and that votes to maintain its own dependency. And the more reliant people become on government, the more distressed they become when asked to do with less of it. We’ve seen this among Europeans who, in recent years, have confronted the economic brick wall that is the dead-end of socialism … “Eventually you run out of other people’s money,” as Margaret Thatcher once famously put it.
Politicians have also been conditioned, so as to believe that once an entitlement is in place, it invariably becomes entrenched, institutionalized and virtually impossible to dislodge. While among Republicans this is disconcerting, for Democrats it is a strategic imperative. For without the voter base that entitlements generate, Democrats would be without a most significant source of their power.
Their strategy for entrenching an entitlement program is to target its benefits so that they are immediate and direct, while keeping the detrimental impact dispersed and indirect. In other words, avoid making it too noticeably painful to those who don’t feel its immediate benefit. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are examples; programs that directly subsidize targeted segments of the populace, while their immediate cost is dispersed among taxpayers and their dire impact remains conceptual and eventual — i.e. unfunded liabilities in the tens of trillions of dollars, which will become so vast they cannot be paid and, left unchecked, will bankrupt our nation.
As unsettling as the consequences may be, so long as they remain distant concepts and not palpable realities, a government program can be allowed to expand and thus become entrenched without political repercussion. Democrats are once again counting on this, hoping ObamaCare will eventually become as indelible as other government programs that preceded it. But there is more to the story, as I’ve described here.