The government shutdown is over for the moment, and lots of pundits are chortling about how badly the Republicans, and particularly those who fought to defund Obamacare, got "beaten." For example, check out Timothy Noah at MSNBC here:
[W]hat the GOP’s right flank is experiencing right now, in government and the court of political opinion, is failure.
Well, you can look at this politics thing as a series of skirmishes where what counts is who "won" and who "lost" the latest skirmish; or you can look at it as trying to come up with the right system to enhance the wealth and happiness of the people. Looked at from the second perspective, what exactly has been "lost" or "won"? Every last government program has been defended until some time early next year, entitlements continue merrily on their unsustainable growth path, the cash basis deficit is almost $1 trillion and the accrual-basis deficit is more like $5+ trillion, and Obamacare is now launched. All of this amounts to a Ponzi scheme where the benefits owed to the old are accelerating and the new entrants -- the young -- have to pay more and more the longer it continues, with little prospect that the scheme can survive long enough for today's young ever to get their due.
And yet. What age cohort gave Barack Obama and the Democrats the largest share of the vote in the 2012 election? That would be the 18 - 29 cohort, which according to the Huffington Post here went 60 - 36 for Obama. These would be the people who already have to pay for Social Security and Medicare for the baby boom generation, who are bearing the lion's share of the now over $1 trillion in student loan debt, non-dischargeable in bankruptcy, and who are about to get hit with Obamacare. Why are these people voting overwhelmingly for the defenders of the Ponzi scheme status quo? Hello?
The weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal has an interview with Stanley Druckenmiller, one of the most successful hedge fund entrepreneurs of the last several decades, who is currently on a tour of college campuses giving talks on the subject of the generational theft. Druckenmiller's theme to his young audiences is that they can't possibly come out ahead in this game. Among other things, he points out to them that proposals to fund increasing benefits by raising income tax rates on "the rich" will fail to catch people like himself and others in the baby boom generation who have already made their money; instead, such higher tax rates will catch those now young as they move up the income ladder, making it harder and harder for them to keep up with their debts, let alone get ahead.
And into this mix, throw Obamacare. Here again, almost all of the reporting is about who gains or loses from the problem of the day. But a longer view says that today's website problems are far less important that the attempt at yet another huge chunk of generational theft from the young to the old. Have the twentysomethings really been fooled into believing that you can add tens of millions of people to the ranks of those with access to healthcare, not add any doctors, hospitals, or other health providers to the system, and everyone's healthcare costs will go down? People, the whole idea here is that twentysomethings are to be forced to pay double or triple or quadruple the fair cost of health insurance so that the money can be transferred to others who are older and less healthy.
I have previously reported on the huge efforts ($684 million in spending) of the federal and state governments to promote Obamacare, particularly to the young for whom it is a terrible deal. See The U.S. Government Embarks On The Most Massive Fraud In World History, September 2, 2013. Kyle Smith in today's New York Post takes it a step further, revealing a grant to the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center to get Hollywood to work Obamacare propaganda into television shows and movies.
There are two ways for the Ponzi scheme to end -- by crashing, or by the young people figuring out that this can't work for them and voting for politicians who support fundamental reform to the entitlement state. I actually have some optimism that the sticker shock of Obamacare is going to be the thing that will finally start waking these twentysomethings up.