By Patrick Samuels
There is no question that the upcoming election has generated a lot of energy. Republicans are looking forward to retaking the house of representatives and maybe even the senate. Democrats are trying to cut their losses as the economic picture remains dismal. Tea Party adherents and candidates are working hard to make an impact. With all our focus on these things, sometimes we miss the larger implications of this event.
First, this will be a watershed election for Americans who participate in or sympathize with the tea parties and their ideals. If they are successful in a lot of races, they will have gotten the attention of the “ruling class” and demonstrated the fact that they are a real threat to the status quo. They will still be a minority at the federal level for sure, and probably at most other levels of government. The key for these winners, if they are to be the first wave of limited government candidates, is to be able to resist the entrenched powers and remain true to their ideals and show that they truly do represent a different breed of politician. If, however, they win few races, the ruling class will have resisted the this “grave threat” to their power and will feel even more comfortable governing against the will of the people and trampling on their liberties. That will make the tension between the ruling class and those that believe they are more than capable of making their own decisions with their lives and money even greater.
Second, it will answer the question about the Republicans. Stated simply by many, “Have they learned their lesson?” Have they learned that the reason they were rejected four years ago was because they appeared to reject the principles of limited government and fiscal responsibility. Regardless of their rhetoric, will they have the courage of their convictions to take the drastic steps necessary to put our fiscal house in order and return liberty to the people? If they take the house, they will control the purse strings. Will they defund “Obamacare”, stop providing stimulus money, and eliminate unnecessary departments like energy and education that they have been talking about for thirty years. More importantly, we are now borrowing forty cents of every dollar we spend which means that to put our budget in balance and stop adding to the deficit, we need to reduce spending by forty percent. All entitlements need to be on the table and they will need to be cut.
Third, what will president Obama’s reaction be to all of this? Some think he will do what president Clinton did and moderate his positions and “triangulate”. There has been nothing in his words or actions that indicate he will do any such thing. I believe we will see a grab for executive power the likes of which we have not seen since FDR. Obama has already demonstrated his willingness to circumvent congress to achieve his means and they are, in fact, becoming ever more irrelevant. The czars, the bureaucracy, the cabinet members as well as all the organizations outside the government that have been writing legislation and regulations are the ones wielding the real power and the congress and the courts have allowed them to do so for years. This trend will increase in scope and expense exponentially over the next two years. Politicians come and go but the power of the bureaucracy only grows. The ruling class knows that once something is in place, the likelihood that it will reduced or cut are practically zero.
Finally, there is a question of what a “lame duck” congress will do. They could do nothing, respecting the will and decision of the people….yeah right. They could push through all kinds of unpopular things, Cap and Trade being a major one, that they have been unable to coax some of their more moderate members to support in an election year. A lot of damage could be done in those two months.
This is what I believe is going to happen. The economic picture is not going to improve and will actually get worse because the Bush tax cuts will be allowed to expire and the hit all Americans receive will take an even greater toll on the economy. The lame duck session will be a busy one and while some of the major things like cap and trade may not fly, several smaller and very damaging pieces of legislation will be pushed through. The Republicans will come in and amidst a flurry of activity and accomplish nothing. They will not cut spending in any meaningful way and the divided government will ensure the unsustainable path we are on is the one we stay on. That means that at some point in the near future our financial house of cards will tumble and then things will get really bad because the federal government will not be able to come to the rescue. It will literally have no money.
What happens then will depend on us. If people clamor for their politicians to “do something”, they will and President Obama and the ruling class will be more than happy to step in and impose severe restrictions like wage and price controls, nationalization and other tyrannical actions to “solve the crisis”. If, however, we have learned our lesson and have come to understand that government is the problem and not the solution, we will demand that our freedom be returned. Then we will begin to build an even better America after we have cleaned out all the deadwood. The next five or ten years will tell the story for we have been cursed to “live in interesting times”, as the Chinese proverb goes.
Patrick Samuels is the author of “Memories of a Former American.”