To The Daily Sun,
It is a generally accepted as true that the size of the ruling elite is only a small fraction of the total population. For that reason, it follows that regimes live or die based on public opinion. The logic goes that unless the majority of the people believe the existing rulers are legitimate they will not accept the regime's authority to exercise power. Even when a regime has a great advantage in coercive power it may profit the rulers little if they must kill 90 percent of the populace to maintain power as such an action reduces them to the status of a parasite without a host. But what if that axiom isn't really true?
What changes in the political dynamic as the number of people directly dependent on government benefits increases? Is there a point where the number of dependents changes the calculus of leadership and power? According to The Heritage Foundation, in 1962 21.7 million people depended on government programs. The corresponding number of government dependents in 2009 had grown to 64.3 million people and it is higher still today. Adding more existing programs to the analysis would increase the number of dependent people to over 100 million. http://heritage.org/research/reports/2010/10/the-2010-index-of-dependence-on-government
The dependent group has grown steadily since the end of World War II. As it grows, the need for the ruling group to pay attention to the people diminishes. Caesar used bread and carnivals. Progressives use food stamps, Social Security and Medicare. The tools of control change slightly over time but the goal is always maintenance of power. Given that the number of working-age people under employed or out of work but not eligible for benefits is about 94 million today it does seem likely we are at a point where 100 million dependents appears to be too low.
Not all the dependents, in fact most, are part of the ruling group. It is worth considering that the ruling group uses in its calculus of control, the power of the votes of the dependent. It is important to understand that to the rulers dependents are virtually cyphers. They have no effect on the rulers' decision-making. They exert no weight in opposition to the rulers as their fear of losing government benefits. This effectively neutralizes their willingness to protest. The dependents vote in overwhelming proportion for continuation and budgetary enlargement of the government and its programs. In doing so they produce the appearance of legitimacy for those in the ruling group.
The policies of the ruling groups are out of control because they are not economically sustainable. They are made possible because we have become dependent. Debate whatever political ideology you like but we need an economy that will support the people... ours does not do that. The result for America will be no better than it was for Rome, though the fall may be farther given the heights to which we have risen.
Is it time yet to reconsider progressive rule and big government? Are you ready to return to principled small government? Do we really have to have a complete crash before we wake up and realize the budget has to be balanced... the bills have to be paid... the money has to have intrinsic value?
- Category: Letters
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