You may have noticed that I haven’t written anything about the election since it took place about 3 weeks ago. A few of my faithful readers have queried whether I slit my wrists or overdosed on Twinkies (never mind, the liberal unions killed the Twinkie too). You’ll be glad to know I am alive and well and surprisingly sanguine. As you would imagine, I am unhappy with the outcome of the election, but as I have debriefed myself on what it means, I am less angry than I thought I might be. However, elections have consequences and we should probably be clear on some of the ones this one will have.
My primary sadness is what this means for the poor and the middle class. They got completely fucked. By opting for Eurostyle socialist economic sclerosis, we have opted to keep economic growth slow and unemployment high. If you are unclear on what this looks like when it becomes part of the fabric of your country and your economy, I offer you, drum roll please, the French. Other than a very brief blip in 2007, French unemployment has been above 8% since before I graduated from college in 1984.
The data is clear that this punishes the least fortunate and least educated among us the most. In fact, a front page article in today’s Wall Street Journal showed that the unemployment rate among young people (age 25-34) without a college degree is well over twice the rate among young folks with a college degree. I predict this gap will widen dramatically as the Obama economy continues with its complete inability create jobs. I have written in the past about the terrible impact this has had on particularly African American youths, but blacks voted overwhelmingly for Obama so that doesn’t seem to be a concern for that voting bloc. It is for me, but all we can do is offer a better option and vote for him. We can’t make others vote for him.
So, how can I be so sanguine in the face of such an ugly future? Well, allow me to be blunt. It isn’t going to affect me all that much. Yes, my taxes will rise as Obama takes “just a little bit more” from the wealthy. And let me pause to say that this was a reprehensible campaign tactic inasmuch as you can take 100% of all income from the wealthy and you have enough extra money to run the Obama government for about 30 days. But, what’s worse is that he is continuing this destructive rhetoric after the election to ensure that no compromise can be reached on the fiscal cliff. While I neither relish having more of my income confiscated nor do I relish the proven deleterious effect such confiscatory tax policies will continue to have on economic growth and job creation, it isn’t going to kill me. It is going to kill the middle and lower classes. But, those getting handouts mostly voted with the democrat party in this election. So, sorry to say, it’s a bit of a “you make your own bed and you lie in it” problem.
But, recognize there are consequences to starting a class civil war and be clear that this is exactly what Obama is consciously doing. Of course, I can only speak for myself, but I have spoken to enough other payers in this payer/taker society we are creating and I think many of us feel the same way. Namely, there’s a limit to what we’ll pay. If the country chooses to move away from capitalism and toward socialistic governmental dependency, that’s a choice the electorate has a right to make, but don’t then look to us for additional payments. For example, I have been extremely generous with charitable giving for many many years. I believe it is a fundamental obligation of those who have been fortunate enough to have the means to do it and it is part of a functioning capitalist society. But, as we move toward socialistic wealth redistribution, I will reduce my charitable giving dollar for dollar with my tax increases. It’s really simple: there are two ways to do this. One is capitalism and growth where jobs are created, people are working, taxes increase due to growing incomes, and wealth transfer is optional and the other is socialism where growth is slow, jobs are hard to find, and wealth transfer is mandated by law. I prefer the former, but the electorate chose the latter and that forces my hand. But, it is a hand that I can play.
I think I will pass on the opportunity to dissect this election as to why Mitt Romney didn’t win. Much has and will be written on this topic and I’m not sure my insight is any better than the paid pundits. However, I will say that what I found most disturbing about the democrat strategy and their complicit liberal media lap dogs was the ceaseless personal attacks on Mitt. I opted not to write about this before now, but I am good friends with the Romney family. Mitt’s oldest son, Tagg, is a close personal friend. So, in true Lloyd Benston fashion, I know the man and his family and he is a very good and caring man. I wish he had taken on these attacks with the legions of stories about his personal life that would have quickly diffused them, but it is a testament to his character that he didn’t stoop as low as his opponents. I don’t know if it would have made a difference, but as Mitt said in the debates, when your record is as bad as Obama’s, all you can do is attack your opponent.
I want to close with a story and a piece written by a friend of mine who is a military vet. It kinda sums up my feelings on the election. I was traveling during election week and landed back at Ronald Reagan Airport in DC on that Wednesday evening. I concede that I was very tired and, at the time, more than a little depressed about the election. But, as I was walking through the terminal, I passed a gate with literally a few hundred people dressed in matching red jackets. It turns out they were veterans of World War II and the Korean War. I stood there for a few minutes as the goose bumps sprung up all over my body. Suddenly, I had a very different outlook on the week’s events. Before I left the airport, I spent about 30 minutes walking up and down the rows of chairs in the gate individually thanking every veteran there.
I realized that whatever the outcome of that week’s election, we owe our very freedom to men like that. For a moment, it lifted my spirits. But, as I was driving home, I started wondering how those brave men would feel about the country that has evolved in the decades since they fought for our freedom. I started doubting that they put their lives on the line at Omaha Beach or Iwo Jima so that we could abandon the basic principles of personal freedom and responsibility and move toward a system of government dependence. I pondered this for a few more days until, out of the blue, I received the words below from a good friend and military veteran on Veteran’s Day. His words tied it all together for me. The election, my visit with the veterans at the airport, and my concerns about the future. Here’s what he wrote:
Fewer and Fewer Veterans, More and More Democrats
by William Miller (ret United States Navy)
As I sat at a Veteran’s Day event this morning, I started wondering how this past week’s election results and the honoring of our veterans might be connected. It is a fact that American veterans make up about 13% of the adult population and 24% of adult males. It is also true that as of May (not sure about Tuesday’s results) that male veterans favored Governor Romney by 28 points while non-veteran males favored Romney by only 1 point. I apologize, but that is where my facts end and my questions and suppositions begin. Why is this so? And what does it mean for the future of the military and our country?
The reasons why veterans are decidedly Republican-leaning likely have only two explanations. Either those that volunteer (remember, we have an all-volunteer force today) are conservative minded before they enter the military, or their experience in the military somehow pulls them to the right. Taking the first explanation, one can eliminate ethnic demographic origins as those that identify themselves as minorities in the military mirrors that of the general public. There are certainly many more males in the military (only 2% of women adults are veterans) but I controlled for that above by only citing the male veteran’s political leanings. Could it be that young males that identify themselves as Republicans are more likely to want to serve their country? Perhaps their Republican parents instilled this in them or perhaps, for some reason, they value our country more than non-Republicans—enough to lay down their life. But why, if this explanation is true, would the sons of Democrats be less likely to serve? Be less likely to find it worth their time, and potentially their life, to volunteer? Couple this explanation with the obvious “changing US demographic” that is driving the Democrats success in elections and it makes me wonder who will stand up to fight in the future? Will there be enough Republican sons and daughters (on average, don’t yell back at me that Democrats don’t serve) to fight for the majority that is the Democrats?
The alternative explanation for the Republican-leaning phenomenon seems less likely but still plausible. Perhaps the experience of serving one’s country causes a soldier to value closely held Republican ideals more than Democrat’s. A strong military has always been one of the Republican’s platform ideas; however, is that enough to “convert”? I doubt they are just “voting their jobs” as public and non-public unions are accused of frequently. The military experience, especially in a time of war, has a way of focusing one on what’s most important in life both in your personal life (e.g., faith, family, personal responsibility) and for your country (e.g., freedom, independence). Republican’s don’t have a monopoly on these basic values but these are the “old fashioned, traditional values” that are more identified with the GOP. If this is the explanation for the overall trend then the issue is less, “will there be enough young men and women to volunteer?” and, instead, “what will we lose as a nation in the overarching values and experiences of our veteran citizens, who are predominantly Republican, as the percentages inevitably decline?” Only 9% of males 18-29 are veterans while the percentage steadily increases to 73% for males 80-89.
The other angle I wondered about as I listened to speeches on service and sacrifice was, what are the ideals of the growing majority that are deciding elections and, ultimately, the direction of our country? And why are these ideals, generally speaking, not the ones of veterans? They key Democrat ideas that seem relevant are the belief that the government is the “great safety net”; that government can solve problems better than the private sector; that the harder you work, the better you do, the more the government should be able to decide how to allocate your returns; that illegal immigration is really not that illegal after all; that personal responsibility is not valued or at least upheld (see “pay for my abortion pills”); and, that God has no place in my political views (see the DNC Convention platform). I can’t speak for all veterans and I already said that these are suppositions; however, these are not the values of the military I grew up in as a Navy brat or as an officer in the submarine force. One is responsible for your own actions. One should carry their load—do your duty. Standards are standards (see Patraeus resignation). Believe in God and country. You earn your stripes. My concern is that if the beliefs of our veterans—who we thank, revere, and support—are not consistent with the growing majority then will the support always be there for our deployed military and returning veterans? Or, conversely, will young patriots want to fight for the values of others that seem so different?
If any of these concerns have merit, then the long-term implications for the US and its military are significant. I can see a time where there are not enough volunteers that are willing to stand up and fight. Without a set of core values that this country collectively holds, encourages, instills and lives by that is generally consistent with those that are most often willing to volunteer, we are destined for a smaller and smaller percentage of our population with military experience. It could be considered a literal death spiral as our military weakens over time. Furthermore, as the Democrat majority grows in the civilian leadership ranks, their understanding of the military, those serving, and their values will diminish making civilian leadership less and less effective. One only has to look at the president’s unwillingness to acknowledge a “war on terrorism” to see the disconnect. I assure you that our deployed forces think there is a war on terrorism as do those that died in Benghazi.
So as the sun sets on a day when we salute the 21.5 million veterans in the US, please consider what the future holds for our military—the people, its purpose, and its capabilities—given the growing divide between what they generally believe and what our growing Democrat leadership believes. It worries me; it worries many of the veterans, and it should worry you regardless of your party affiliation.