Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Nation of Moochers by Charles Sykes

I read a lot of books, but no book has made me as angry as A Nation of Moochers by Charles Sykes. In fact, I finished the book quite hopeless and feeling quite taken advantage of. I felt like a sucker for not mooching. Apparently everyone else has their hand out!

We, as a nation are becoming addicted to OPM (Other People’s Money). In fact, more and more people are taking from fewer and fewer makers. This appears to be increasing and we may, in fact, be near the tipping point of unsustainability. But in the mean time, we continue to transfer more and more money under the irrational belief that  it is all being taken from someone else. At some point, those who are not moochers will realize they are suckers and simply walk over and join the takers. Then what?

The first kind of moocher Sykes discusses is the dependent class created by feel-good liberals. When the underclass rioted, liberals gave them money. They bought them off to keep them from becoming violent, but instead created a permanent dependent class. And the pay off has skyrocketed. Forget basic needs. Cell phone, flat screen TVs, X boxes are all necessary to avoid “relative deprivation” in which the poor do not have have all the stuff the “rich” have. This very materialistic view of humanity, that stuff is what matters to a good and happy life, has led to dependent, miserable people. We have created incompetent people who learn helplessness. When a disaster strikes, and the government cannot help them (i.e. Katrina) they are ill-equipped to deal with the situation. 

But the moochers are not just low-income Americans feeding at the government trough. Corporate America has pulled up a seat as well. Hollywood, “farmers”, owners of beach-front property, General Electric, Realtors, the U.A.W. green energy firms, Archer Daniels Midland, and countless other business suck up sweetheart deals and tax breaks from the government to the tune of BILLIONS of dollars. 

Moochers are also public sector union workers. Sykes details in a maddening way why it’s good to work for the government. The salaries and benefits eclipse equivalent private sector work. The job security is almost unbreachable, and the pensions are bankrupting other workers who have nothing similar to fall back on. Once again, many of us are taken for suckers to be mooched off of. Interestingly however, when a state like Indiana made union dues voluntary, 95% of all workers opted out. That’s the death knell for unions and a way to introduce sanity into our public sector.

Then he moves on to the bailout moochers. Whether it is big banks, investment firms, or homeowners who bit off way more than they could chew, lots of people lined up for government handouts. Remember, it’s the frugal and prudent who are paying off the losses of the greedy risk-takers. They win, we lose.

At this point, Sykes zeros in on the “Middle Class Suckers.” We are the ones who play by the rules and get punished for it. In fact, in many ways, our country punishes work. He gave example after example of how it would actually make sense NOT to get married or NOT to take a better paying job when government benefits would be reduced. It would almost seem the system is designed to discourage work and self-reliance. Or rather it’s designed to encourage government reliance! Even the middle class of the future are a bunch of suckers. We are already mooching off them and they aren’t even born yet. We are sticking them our $16,000,000,000,000 debt. Suckers.

How to fix it? I don’t think his suggestions are realistic. He basically suggests changing the culture and making a fast cutoff of wealth transfers. No one wants to be the first to back away from the trough. Politicians need to learn to say, “No.” Maybe in an alternative universe, but here on earth, that will never happen. 

My solution is to return to the Constitution. Our government was founded by God-fearing men who knew the propensity for human failings. They recognized from the very beginning the desire of man to mooch. That’s why they severely limited the role of the government. All of the bailouts, crony capitalism, transfer payments, Social Security, Medicare, welfare, tax favoritism, all of it, all the moocher’s tools are unConstitutional. Until we return to self-governance under God, with a firm reliance on Him and not the government, we will continue to mooch and continue to head down the path of implosion. And we who are self-reliant and trust God and make wise decisions consistent with a Biblical worldview will continue to be treated as... suckers.

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