Sunday, July 17, 2011

Are We Past the Tipping Point?

Is it just me, or does it seem like we are racing past the tipping point in our ability to hold together civil society?

Definition of Tipping Point: "the critical point in an evolving situation that leads to a new and irreversible development."

I can think of several areas of our communal life where we are past the tipping point.

1. Political discourse

It's toxic right now in the public arena, and getting worse. Democrats, you are pushing too hard past the bounds of decency in public political discussion. Let me just give you 3 quick examples off the top of my head:

a. The savaging of Sarah Palin in the immediate aftermath of the shooting of Congressman Giffords in Tuscon. Many of you maliciously accused her of direct cupability in a heinous mass murder. Blood on her hands, because of her tone - when it was really your tone that was way out of line. You shouted a hurtful lie in the public square, and have never apologized for it even in the face of overwhelming evidence that you were wrong.

b. The savaging of Michele Bachmann last week for signing the "marriage pledge" in Iowa. It was a straightforward pledge supporting the institution of marriage. In building a case that the institution of two-parent marriage is itself past the tipping point - given a 70% out-of-wedlock birthrate in the African American community - it included a bullet point about a higher rate of two parent marriage during the period of slavery than present day.

A non-insane reading of that bullet point would conclude that they referenced slavery because it was the starting point of black family life on this continent - when blacks were forcibly brought against their will for that abominable institution, as the bullet point stated. It's a timeline point: from the beginning until now the institution of marriage has suffered in the black community. It's a reasonable point.

But the Democrat response was not reasonable. It was malicious spin. It was an assertion that Michele Bachmann was arguing that blacks "had it better" under slavery. It was a desperate and strained attempt to call a GOP candidate a racist. That is insanely partisan. ENOUGH WITH THE RACISM ACCUSATION!

b. Speaking of irresponsibly playing the race card: Rep Sheila Jackson Lee came out this week and claimed that the GOP opposition to Obama's debt position is racist. It's because he is a black man.

Please. Stop it. Opposition to Obama on the debt plan is due to Obama's irresponsible position on our budget. Please remember that Obama presented a budget to Congress just this February which increased the national debt by TEN TRILLION DOLLARS. The United States Senate rejected his budget by a margin of 97-0. That is both Democrats and Republicans telling the President that he has a ridiculous position on the budget and debt. It has nothing to do with race. ENOUGH WITH THE RACISM ACCUSATION!

We are too polarized, with a toxic public debate, and perhaps past the tipping point on bringing it back to civil.

2. Dependency class:

We will be past the tipping point in our ability to control our budget when more than 50% are dependent on government services - and therefore invested in irresponsibly voting to expand them.

We are there. We are way past the legitimate "safety net" function of a limited government, and way too far into the "entitlement" culture of receiving government checks.

I read some startling figures in the last week that give me the sense that we have hurtled past the tipping point of fiscal stability. Figures like:

- only 58.9 percent of adults are employed
- the bottom 47% of wage earners pay ZERO income tax

How can 41 % of the population support the rest? How can so many people who don't pay into the tax base vote themselves money from the general coffers? How can is that sustainable?

3. The debt ceiling negotiation in Washington tells me that we are way past the tipping point in being able to survive as a country fiscally. Yes, I mean that. Our government is irretrievably broken AND broke.

We are 16 days away from suffering consequences from the fact that our Federal Government has ALREADY passed the legal debt ceiling of $14.3 Trillion dollars. The "debt ceiling" is the current law, and it says that we cannot borrow more than the limit. We are past the limit. Our government - Congress and POTUS - have already broken the law wantonly and irresponsibly. But, instead of gathering in an emergency action to cut spending to borrow less and get back under the limit they are arguing about how to raise the limit on our credit cards. Unbelievable!

We have more government than we can afford. Every dollar we spend has 40 cents borrowed! And that number increases every day. It what possible universe could an individual go for a long time putting 40% of everything they spend on a maxed out credit card? Why do we think our government can do it? We can't. We are past the point where we can ever reasonably pay off the debt that we owe, and are only desperately trying to service the interest payments. That is the sign of bankruptcy, and we are there.

" How the debt ceiling is eventually resolved only changes the timing and extent of the economic collapse.  In that sense, it has no bearing on the ultimate fate of the nation...The US government has been insolvent for years.  Now bankruptcy is a risk because it is potentially "borrowed out."" - Monty Pelerin, "The Debt Ceiling Charade", The American Thinker
The rise of the Tea Party is the response to this pending bankruptcy of our nation. I fear that it is too late for the Tea Party to effect enough change to make a difference. Yes, the Tea Party is stiffening the spine of the GOP to draw a line in the sand and say enough. But, they are getting pilloried in the press as terrorists. "You've raised the debt ceiling before", the media parrots daily. Yes! And it was the wrong thing to do! It's just gotten us further past the tipping point of national debt! No more. Not again. Stop now.

We need a simple affordable limited government. Mike Huckabee paints it well in his new book "A Simple Government". He describes it thusly in his last chapter:

"...I've found that people actually want much less from their government than politicians think. They want the trash  picked up on time, smooth roads and safe streets, good schools, a fire truck to show up promptly when needed, and secure borders to keep bad people from getting in and disturbing our peace. They want veterans to be cared for, sick people children, and old people to be treated decently, and laws to be enforced. That's about it. They don't need a supernanny" telling them what to wear, what to eat, and how many hours of sleep to get each night. They don't want to work hard and then get penalized for their productivity so that government can reward the slackers and the failures..."
Limited government. Simple government. Meeting the needs fiscally responsibly.

We are way past that. We have an unsustainable, unpayable, national debt that has enslaved our children and our grandchildren to a bleak future of debt servicing. Picture this:

We as a nation have indebted ourselves for our wants far beyond our ability to pay it back. No one can even reasonably imagine the number  $14,342,953,885,641.98 - which is our current national debt. It is so far outside of our daily experience that it is an imaginary number. And it's not even the true number. With unfunded liabilities in the entitlement trust funds it's more like 100 trillion dollars in debts.

Bottom line:

1. We are broke. We have an unsustainable public national debt. We are past the point where we can ever pay it back, and are only fighting a losing battle to service the interest payments to our foreign creditors, using fake money printed by the Federal Reserve.

2. We have a broken government. Currently gridlocked in a delusional struggle at the tiny margins of our debt.

3. We are past a tipping point of dependency on government in our population. We can't pare our government back to a fiscally sound limited government, because too high a percentage are dependent on ever-expanding borrowed-money largesse from that government.

4. We are past the point of civil debate. Democrats are pushing too hard in demonizing the Tea Party and fiscal conservatives as "economic terrorists" and racists. It's too much. It's malicious and harmful to our civil society. Stop it.

We have such big issues to face. I fear that we are past the tipping point in being able to solve them as an intact sovereign nation. I fear that we are past the tipping point in being able to cede to our children a sound and civil society. Shame on us.

Back to the definition of tipping point: "the critical point in an evolving situation that leads to a new and irreversible development."

The irreversible development is economic collapse. National bankruptcy. Debt slavery for our children.

Our our politicians acting like this is a real possibility? Because, it is.

What say you?


  1. You didn't notice on Twitter last week when, finally, I caught one of these pandering "liberal" comedians on his cheap "Tea Party" bashing. He wound up shrieking like the effeminate banshee these types are underneath their smarter-than-thou skins.

    However, he hasn't dared put up another Tea Party "joke" since then, and that's my point.

    These antagonisms are personal frustrations projected out onto politics. The so-called left and right both have them. Wars never start by reasoning, but by the accretion of these little personal insanities blended into contrived issues by an insane and greedy media.

  2. "only 58.9 percent of adults are employed"

    So the tax breaks aren't helping "job creators" create jobs? I'm shocked, shocked I tell you.


    "How can so many people who don't pay into the tax base vote themselves money from the general coffers?"

    So only people who pay taxes can vote? If only people who pay taxes vote, they'll vote themselves tax breaks so they don't pay taxes either and pretty soon no one is paying taxes OR able to vote. Yeah, that'll work.

    As for people who don't pay federal income taxes being dependent on government services, most don't feel that they are since they are not receiving
    direct assistance, just as Michelle Bachmann doesn't believe she received government assistance even though she got farm subsidies. Like her, the rest of us are going to take what's offered to us. In the years that my husband and I paid no federal tax, here's how that happened: Meager income earned, taxes withheld. Income tax return filed, taking mortgage & property tax deduction (replaced now by business loss on renting out same property), charitable deductions, & deductions, exemptions, and credits related to kids, and bam! we get more refunded than we paid in. Most people in that situation would not think themselves the beneficiaries of govt assistance. We weren't exactly living high on the hog, we were just getting by (and no, our expenses do not include ANY debt beyond the mortgage &, at one time, a modest car payment. How people with credit card debt do it is mind-boggling to me.)

    On the other hand, we have corporations that are able to pay dividends to their shareholders, yet pay no taxes either! And saving all that money doesn't seem to be going into "job creation." And don't get me started on well-to-do individuals getting deductions for a second home, sheltering income to avoid taxes, and so on so that THEY don't pay any taxes either.

    Eliminating loopholes and deductions that allow profitable corps and wealthy people to avoid taxes isn't raising taxes, it's eliminating their ability to avoid taxes. Similarly, many of the individual deductions and credits need to be ash-canned as well. Everybody needs to do their share.

    I need to stop before I become uncivil. Rest assured that I agree wholeheartedly in the "fear that we are past the tipping point in being able to cede to our children a sound and civil society."