An Open Letter to the Democratic Party

Congratulations!  You’ve just made a convincing win, trouncing your opponents in all three sets of federal races — President (won!), Senate (majority enlarged!), and House of Representatives (nibbled off a few elephants)

Now the hard work begins.

If you’re a Democratic Voter (notice that this is not the same thing as being “a Democrat”: your’e not an actual member of the party unless you actually do more than vote for them once every four years), then you have a golden opportunity to pursue legislative and executive programs will do wonders to uphold and further social justice.

Here’s the hard part:  how do you intend to afford it? (Awful truth here, you can’t tax your way out of this.  We have a 15-trillion-dollar economy.  You’d need to add a minimum of another 1.5 trillion in taxes — you’d be taking 20% of total GDP out of the economy.  That results in higher unemployment, hurting the people who need it most.  Yes, some of that money comes back in, but there are losses to friction.  Take five dollars from your left pocket (private sector), and put it in your right pocket (public sector).  How much money do you have?  Not five dollars.  More like four and some change — because the bureaucrats whose job it is to transfer the money?  They’ve got kids and have to eat, too.  And that’s assuming zero waste.)

The US is broke.  Don’t take my word for it.  Here’s 2010 in a nutshell.  Notice that, contrary to your buddies over at AddictingInfo, military spending is *not* the majority, or anywhere close.  The entitlements you hold near and dear to your heart are.  (Plus a surprising amount of mandatory spending at the Department of Agriculture — but you guys hate Monsanto, so that should be a cinch to tame, right?)

This challenge (how to afford the social-democratic state) is what the bright boys and girls in Europe have been trying to figure out for more than a decade.  It’s a problem. Europeans can generally spend more than we do on social justice, because NATO underwrites their defense bills (thus allowing them to spend much less GDP on defense, and more on social programs).  But even with that advantage, which we do not possess, since numerous weak countries depend upon us for security guarantees(*), their debt levels are growing rapidly and catastrophically.

Past a certain level of debt, a country only has two options — hyper-inflation, or default.  Both crush the working and middle classes.
So if we’re going to avoid looking like Greece, we MUST get the budget under control, as a pragmatic priority.  This is especially the case in state government — the “big blue” states are, by and large, utterly bankrupt.(**)

Yet, to govern as a Democrat, you need your eye focuses like a laser on social welfare and social justice.

This is the challenge of your time.  How can you deliver on both?
Europe can’t do it — they’re making the easy choices (which fail to solve the problem).

If Democrats want to succeed, you will need to figure out how to do much more, with much less.  That means serious, hardcore, dramatic innovations, and a slaughtering of sacred cows right and left.

Are you up to the challenge?  Rehashing bromides(***) won’t cut it — all that’ll do is give the Republicans another shot at reversing everything you’ve accomplished in 2016.  And if you fail, they will do so, just as Democrats seized power in ’06 and ’08 from the castastrophic mismanagement of government by Republicans who thought they had a “permanent majority.”

We’re waiting.  Let’s see what you’ve got.


*Yes, I agree that we’re waging too many wars, too.  But we are in the middle of a long-term, brutal war, and as citizens of conscience, we also cannot break guarantees we’ve made to other nations, for moral reasons, as well as practical ones.
**(Yes, more blue money goes to red states than vice versa, but a significant portion of that is because the federal government owns and operates a lot more Red State land than they do Blue State land, whether it’s military bases, or national parks.  Carping on spending-allocation isn’t the answer here.)

*** Remember, if Democrats are going to hold onto power, they MUST keep their “Blue Dogs” alive and in Congress.  This is where you failed in 2010, and why you lost the House of Representatives to the Republicans.  If you want to succeed this time around, you’ll need to do better.

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