2013 – The Year Of America’s Second Civil War?

An Excellent Spirit has read about the civil disturbances in Argentina after the elevation of leftist, wealth redistributionist Christina Kirchner Fernandez to the Presidency. Here and here.  We have seen the new President in Havana with Hugo Chavez and in the embrace of President Obama. We have read the stories of her demand that Great Britain return the Falkland Islands to Argentina and the British response of another war before that happens. What next?

President Obama and Presidente Fernandez of Argentina

An Excellent Spirit has also read an article by Arthur Herman that discusses the chances of civil war in the United States in 2013. Here  “The New Year has started with a monstrosity of a budget deal, one that proves that neither political party, Democrats or Republicans, is really serious about controlling the growth of big government. But soap opera dramatics about fiscal “cliffs” and sequestration shouldn’t deflect from where President Obama is really taking this country. Consider this story from the Wall Street Journal a few days before Christmas: “Thousands of people in several Argentine cities ransacked supermarkets for a second day in the latest challenge to President Christina Kirchner, who is struggling to revive a weak economy…In the central city Rosario, two people were killed during the incidents and 137 people arrested. Washington’s Republicans and Democrats alike have become the toll collectors on the road to serfdom”

Venezuelan Dictator Chavez with Argentina’s President Christina Fernandez

Herman goes on to point to Argentina’s wealth redistributionist policies and the toll they have taken on the Argentine economy and the proud people. “The violence puts Mrs. Kirchner in a difficult position as the poor are [her] core constituents…Her government spends billions of dollars a year to help low income families, including free health care…[Yet] Argentine activists who claim to represent the poor traditionally block access to supermarkets in the month of December to demand free food and other items…The latest events were some of the worst acts of looting and vandalism in years…. Local media showed dozens of men, women, and children hauling away televisions, refrigerators, and food.”

Widespread rioting and looting in Argentina in December 2012 and January 2013

Herman then returns to his theme of “takers and makers” in the United States: “Some have said my warnings about a coming civil war between makers and takers are exaggerated. It’s true that Argentina’s politicians have been waging class warfare since Juan and Eva Peron–and they aren’t fazed when it turns bloody. Obama and the Democrats are relative newcomers to the game. But Argentina reveals who really suffers when those who create a nation’s wealth get mugged by those who spend it–as just happened this week in Washington. It’s the poor and the middle class, the very ones big government says it’s trying to protect.”

An Excellent Spirit has been all over this story for months. Here  and here. We have even discussed what the “entitlement culture” will do to a nation spiritually. Here and here. The tragedy is now upon America and the outlook is not good. If Argentina is any indication of what will happen, we must, according to Herman, begin to consider civil war in America in 2013 and beyond. He correctly identifies the problem. It is not, as Mitt Romney foolishly suggested “the 47%”. Herman lays the blame where it should go: on all of us who voted for bigger government. “Since 1970, America’s public sector has exploded as a percentage of GDP, rising to almost 25% last year. While the national unemployment rate hovers at the 8% mark, government worker unemployment rate is a cozy 3.8%. Sixteen percent of America’s workforce now work for government. By the time the Obama administration ends, we won’t be that far away from Argentina’s 21 percent. Yet as an economic and social enterprise, government creates nothing. Far from adding to people’s standard of living, government is the number one cause of poverty in this country. It forces those who depend on its largesse to live hand to mouth, with no time or money to plan for the future. They become unable to fend for themselves—and increasingly resentful of those who can.”

The Heritage Foundation’s Obamacare tax graph for 2013

Who cares, you might ask. America is bigger than Argentina and vastly more wealthy and with trillions in resources. Herman exposes that myth. “When the economy tanks and the government checks have to shrink, their only alternative is to take to the streets. That’s what happening in Argentina, and in Greece; and that’s where the growth of government is taking us here, as this current budget deal increases handouts–and more and more Americans are finding that an unemployment or Social Security disability check is their only life line.” With Obamacare about to kick in and destroy the best health care system in the world and trillions of dollars in new taxes to pay for hundreds of thousands of new government workers who do not know anything about health care, America has embarked on a journey to the kind of hell that Argentina, Greece, France and Spain (to name just a few nations staggering under debt and spending problems) have blazed a path for us to follow. “Washington’s Republicans and Democrats alike have become the toll collectors on the road to serfdom–and the road to Rosario.”

Americans would do well to think, pray and seek God for His Word about what we should do. As we have pointed out before, understanding is not necessarily knowledge, but a knowing of what God says we should know and basing what we do upon that understanding. We have already seen how little those in Congress and the White House understand. The first two actions in 2013 have not set a good trajectory. As Professor Herman says “How far down that road depends on how our private sector rallies in 2013 after two numbing defeats, first on November 7 and then on Capitol Hill this week.”  Herman is right when he says we need “to explain to that 47 percent that when big government wins, we all lose–and that this nation won’t survive if it does.”

Redistribution Is Un-American

Professor Thomas Sowell, of Stanford University’s Hoover Institute has this on President Obama’s desire to redistribute American’s money by taking it from those who make it and give it to those who he says need it. “The recently discovered tape on which Barack Obama said back in 1998 that he believes in redistribution is not really news.” Prof. Sowell continues, “Those who talk glibly about redistribution often act as if people are just inert objects that can be placed here and there, like pieces on a chess board, to carry out some grand design. But if human beings have their own responses to government policies, then we cannot blithely assume that government policies will have the effect intended.”

Thomas Sowell is among the greatest thinkers and economists of his time. His review of the history of wealth redistribution includes a look at the failed Communist Soviet Union. He rightly observes, that in America, today, “People in industry are not inert objects either. Moreover, unlike farmers, industrialists are not tied to the land in a particular country. If confiscatory policies can produce counterproductive repercussions in a dictatorship, they are even harder to carry out in a democracy. A dictatorship can suddenly swoop down and grab whatever it wants. But a democracy must first have public discussions and debates. Those who are targeted for confiscation can see the handwriting on the wall, and act accordingly. Among the most valuable assets in any nation are the knowledge, skills and productive experience that economists call “human capital.” When successful people with much human capital leave the country, either voluntarily or because of hostile governments or hostile mobs whipped up by demagogues exploiting envy, lasting damage can be done to the economy they leave behind.” Here is a video that shows the President’s position on the issue. Then look at these quotes from Political Outcast. 

“With the collapse of Communism, we recognized that markets are going to happen. But having said all that, I insist—and this I think I’m inheriting what was probably the best part of the dream of both my father—my African father, my white American mother—I think that the best legacy of theirs, my inheritance, is the notion that we collectively can decide on our fate.” These are the words spoken by Barack Obama on August 11, 1995, pointing to what he views as a silver lining in the collapse of Communism, because the collapse of Communism was a bad occurrence in his eyes.”

“I actually believe in redistribution.” These are the words spoken by Barack Obama on October 19, 1998, at Loyola University.

“Now, what we’re doing, I want to be clear, we’re not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that’s fairly earned”—and now breaking from the TelePrompTer—”I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.” These are the words spoken by Barack Obama, then President, on April 28, 2010, in a speech at Quincy, Illinois. This is who Obama is, and yet he is liked by most of America.”

Then take a look at this, by Edward Morrissey of The Fiscal Times, “Why doesn’t the President want to join Romney in a broad, philosophical discussion about economic policy and outcomes? Perhaps it’s the latter that scares Obama most. The stimulus bill spent $800 billion in borrowed money, which arguably has been redistributed from future generations that have to repay that debt, as the Obama administration and a Democratic Congress added mountains of new regulation aimed specifically at businesses and investors to achieve “fairness” in health care and credit distribution.  Instead of touching off a boom in economic growth and job creation, we have seen the civilian labor participation rate hit its worst level since 1981 as workers fall out of the workforce. Both the median household income and hourly earnings have dropped faster during the Obama recovery than it did during the recession that preceded it. Census Bureau data shows that start-up jobs per 1,000 Americans during the Obama administration have fallen far below the level seen in the last 25 years, a sign of deep trouble in the engine of the US economy. In almost every measure, we’re not just treading water in a stagnant redistributionist economy – we are actively falling behind. Mitt Romney may not have made an elegant argument back in May about the differences between redistributionary economic and regulatory policies and free-market approaches, and the willingness of the electorate to hear it. However, his effort to keep pressing that debate while his opponent tries to evade it shows that Romney has the better argument – and elegant or not, the outcomes make this debate absolutely critical to our nation’s future.

An Excellent Spirit strongly believes that President Obama, before Americans go to the polls in November should tell Americans whether he still favors redistribution of wealth. If he does, An Excellent Spirit sincerely hopes that Professor Thomas Sowell and Edward Morrissey and other free market capitalists will have the opportunity to debate the concept with our “smartest President ever”.  We would pay to watch that. Stay tuned. There should be more.