In previous installments about quitters we introduced the problem of conservatives who quit (believing in, participating in, caring about, voting for) the Republican Party, and some ways that Democrats encourage them to quit. Too many conservatives quit, and not only because of Democrat Party discouragement. Republicans discourage conservatives too, and we will have more to say on that tomorrow. But there are also perfectly ordinary reasons why conservatives quit believing in Republicans and conservatism. The main one is economics.
Sometimes life just beats you down
The economy sucks right now. I hate to be Debbie Downer, but talk of recessions, recovery, double dip recessions and so on is baloney. We are in the middle of a new Great Depression. It will continue until the US government gets its boot off the neck of businesses and working people. If today we measured unemployment the same way it was measured during the Great Depression, we would be at Great Depression levels of unemployment. This Great Depression was created by government intervention in the mortgage markets and when the hugely overpriced housing market crashed and took down insurers, banks, and millions of Americans’ individual balance sheets then further government bailouts, stimuli, and regulatory meddling only made things worse. Even George W. Bush said while signing TARP (the Troubled Asset Relief Program, aka the bailout for banking entities that were too big to fail, unless their name was “Lehman”) he was going against free market principles in order to save the free market.
Can you really destroy the free market in order to save it? First, the free market isn’t a village. It’s much bigger and more complex. And second, that didn’t even work for a village. Since we’re saving a discussion of how Republicans discourage conservatives for tomorrow, let’s leave the sad story of how Dubya destroyed the free market in order to save it for another day.
In any case, this essay isn’t about the causes of this Depression. It’s about the effects. Who is discouraged by a Depression? Non-Union Workers. Producers. Investors. They worry, labor and sweat and can’t get anywhere because taxes and other costs keep going up, no matter how hard they work. Their customers don’t have enough money to buy what the producers produce. Production costs keep going up. Storage and shipping costs keep going up. Inventory taxes keep going up. Government regulation gets worse and worse. The law and regulatory atmosphere becomes increasingly hostile to free enterprise. The flood of regulations is so intensive that nobody knows whether they are breaking laws at any time, so nobody is surprised when they are sued or arrested for some crime nobody even knew was a crime. Kafka, Rand, and Orwell seem prophetic. Environmental groups use Federal government grants to pay lawyers to sue to stop every new enterprise. These Americans who work as hard and smart as they can to feed their families and build something for the future are the conservative Americans who make up the heart of that conservative 70% of the populace. Compare them to those who collect from the welfare state and work a part time job under the table for spending money. Who has an easier life? Who sends money to the government? Who takes money from the government? Who is encouraged, and who is discouraged? Our government takes from the ants and gives to the grasshoppers.
When people are discouraged enough, they don’t vote. They quit.
Conservatives quit in 2005 and 2006 because Democrats and their media complex were 24/7 screaming at George W. Bush about Iraq and tax cuts for the rich, Halliburton, and blood for oil, and Dubya would not defend himself or his policies in any energetic way. The President and other Republicans would not fight. Ordinary, conservative Americans wondered why they should both getting engaged in politics if their leaders wouldn’t even defend the idea of supporting our own troops who were at war to defend us. Conservative morale was low, and most of our energy was spent defending the military from Democrat efforts to defund it or arrange a surrender. Lots of people quit in 2007 and 2008. John Galt started quitting when Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama’s congress took power and started passing aggressive new regulations, bailouts, aggressively increased the minimum wage, and promised to increase the taxes levied on businesses and employers. Obama was elected in 2008, in the people’s reaction to the chaos created by Pelosi’s flurry of bad legislation. Then, in 2009 Rick Santelli went on a rant and inspired millions of people to create tea parties. The tea parties woke up a lot of people: Democrats and Republicans and Independents of all sorts of political stripes, who all realized that the fiscal direction of the US has us stumbled drunkenly into insolvency and Weimar Republic territory. This clarity brought courage with it. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Money has no political party. Wealth is not a Republican or Democrat issue. The destruction of American industry and farming and mining isn’t a partisan issue. Well… it shouldn’t be one.
This clarity brought courage with it. And courage is exactly what discouraged people are lacking. People whose courage has been restored might go on and quit quitting. Truthfully, what happened in 2010 with Republican landslides all over the political landscape demonstrated that many quitters had come back to the ballot box.
Democrats and their media complex saw this, and decided this had to stop. They cranked up the noise machine of the Democrat media complex and intensified their campaign of distraction and discouragement against Republicans. They have introduced new, misleading terms like “tax expenditure” for untaxed income, and “balanced approach” for tax increases, to allow them to re-frame the debate in their favor. If you are allowed to keep your income then according to these new terms you are benefiting from a tax expenditure. And if you are paying 60% of your income in local, state, and federal taxes then you are not paying your fair share. See how it works?
Now unable to even trust language to mean what it seems to mean, some of the same conservatives who were motivated by the tea parties are getting discouraged again. Many are awakened and activated. But some are being crushed economically. Thanks to the Democrat media complex’s relentless partisan trickery, they can’t even trust the language they use. Their kids have a 50% unemployment rate thanks to this Depression. Even if their kids try to make a little pocket money, they run afoul of new food laws and incur large fines for selling lemonade on the sidewalk. Is the heartbreaking sight of teenagers forced to mow lawns in the noonday sun the next scandal that will prompt more regulations?
It’s too much! People want to escape. They want to quit. It’s understandable.
They will quit again unless and until they get an infusion of clarity and courage. And all too often it seems they won’t get that clarity or courage from Republican leaders. More on that tomorrow, in the next installment.
[to be continued]