PFoL’s 2013 Person of the Year: The Forgotten American

“As soon as A observes something which seems to him to be wrong, from which X is suffering, A talks it over with B, and A and B then propose to get a law passed to remedy the evil and help X. Their law always proposes to determine … what A, B, and C shall do for X.” — William Graham Sumner

Shlaes goes on to add: “But what about C? There was nothing wrong with A and B helping X. What was wrong was the law, and the indenturing of C to the cause. C was the forgotten man, the man who paid, ‘the man who never is thought of.’” — Amity Shales “The Forgotten Man”

The problem today is that the Forgotten Man is often also being taken to the woodshed by a panoply of cronyists, encouraged by a large federal government who always wins by being able to pit us against each other.

  • Crony Capitalists: Often the worst — those who invent, achieve, and then decide it’s easier to curry favor with the government instead of fighting the constrictive regulatory state.
    • Many industrial-minded folks have realized that ceding to the left’s rhetoric that “the rich must pay” is cheap. One can negotiate away competitors and pencil in special tax breaks for the mere price of campaign donations and some kind words in the spirit of progressivism. A negotiable tax rate is a pittance compared to shielding oneself against new competitors or fair market pricing.
  • Caste Cronyism: Often those push policies for the “greater good” when in the end the outcome is a lesser good.
    •  For the number of truly uninsurable folks with preexisting conditions (less than 5% of the population), we have destroyed our health insurance system for a “greater good.” Last time I checked, over 80% of folks were happy with their plans and that number seems greater than 5%. We are now looking forward to the moment on Jan 1st, 2014 when a law will cause more people to lose their health insurance than gain it.
    • “You will be made to care.” Now even thinking that traditional marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman is a thought better not spoken out loud. Again all of this for 5-10% of the population — the entire definition of a single word that held true for millennia must be changed.
    • Sandra Fluke is a perfect example of a gender cronyist – using one’s gender as an angle to get special treatment from the government under the guise of a “war on women.” If you want to be seen as equal, try living as an equal.
  • Defense Cronyism: Those who refuse to accept that spending, even in the Pentagon, requires oversight and refuse to recognize that the NSA has gone too far. Their chest puffing leads to our troops being impacted poorly in the field and to a military that now is over half office staff.
  • Media Cronyism: We now have an activist media that adores shaping a narrative and driving mindless action that mimics the 5 second attention span of the news cycle. Facts are not important or necessary, nor is evaluation of policy and its impact on Americans — just keep going FORWARD. They are the ultimate enablers of the victim classes, government overreach, and the enforcers of political correctness.

Pocket Full of Liberty would like to redefine today’s Forgotten Man as the Forgotten American, and measure it  by how much s/he has lost in Freedom and future prosperity in fealty to a powerful central authority.

  • Over 16 million are projected to lose their current insurance.
  • School choice is denied for our own children. “Obama’s Department of Justice has sued to block poor African-Americans (and others) from escaping failing schools in Louisiana and trying, at least, to get a decent education.” The civil rights movement of our time is being crushed on a daily basis by our own government.
  • Happiness is becoming scarce among Americans.
    • Coincidentally, happiness is often found in the attainment of goals, hard work, marriage, and the ability to have choices. Pursuit of policy that enables Americans to have a crack at these opportunities again would certainly be a welcome path forward.
    • Americans have  acquiesced to a surveillance state that even goes beyond the approved parameters endorsed by the contentious Patriot Act.
    • Yesterday’s doctors are striking by either retiring or boycotting government-run insurance policies.
    • People labor for over ten years — often in vain, but occasionally to success — to bring novel medications to market and are then told they are the problem for daring to ask a price for their labor. If you shrug this off, wait until what you do for a living falls under the scope of a “human right.”
    • The man who could compete against Goliath, but could never afford the overhead of the regulatory state, will fall backwards instead of enriching us all with his inventions.
    • 1 in 4 Americans who think they signed up for individual insurance will find out they haven’t.
    • Labor participation rates continue to decline. “The data suggest[s] that the recent decline in unemployment is largely driven by discouraged workers dropping out of job searches.”
    • But don’t worry, government has wasted $400K to study the intelligence of the Forgotten American, only to find out s/he’s smarter.
    • Over 10,000 Keystone Pipeline jobs are being held hostage by left-wing politics.

But do not fret, here’s $30 billion in waste that Senator Tom Coburn located as a yearly tradition. Or this example from a great piece titled “Hyper-regulated Lawlessness:”

The IRS sent 23,994 fraudulent tax refunds totaling $46.3 million to a single address in Atlanta, for example – but there are a lot of people pinching a little bit each from Uncle Sam, skimming cash and benefits from countless different programs.  It often turns out these scams were amazingly easy to perpetrate – our bloated government simply failed to notice, or chose not to notice, all those hands stuffed in its pockets.  The “free” cell phone program has been defrauded on a billion-dollar scale by people who simply showed up, applied more than once, and walked away with several taxpayer-funded cell phones tucked in their pockets.  People who work for this program have been caught indulging such theft, and even teaching people how to do it.

So who’s picking up the tab?

  • CBO: The top 40% paid 106.2% of income taxes. The bottom 40% paid -9.1% and got an average of $18,950 in “transfers.”
  • Even worse, in Obama’s economy, the tax burden keep rising on, well…. everyone.
  • And don’t forget the National Debt at $17 trillion and climbing. Generational theft at its worst.

“The forgotten man… He works, he votes, generally he prays, but his chief business in life is to pay.” – William Graham Sumner

So raise your glass with me or pour some out for the Forgotten American, to quote Neal Dewing,

“I’m happy even though we’re living in an era of expansionist government and rampant anti-Catholicism.”

The forgotten American  is still a generally optimistic and happy individual despite the carpet bombing coming from the above-mentioned sources. Unlike the Left, the Forgotten American’s self-worth doesn’t crumble by the mere presence of dissent.

The upside for the Forgotten American is that, thankfully, he still gets to vote. Every day the government squeezes one more of us, is one more motivated person with a ballot.  

Merry Christmas and a Happy 2014!