Yesterday, NPR interviewed a Georgia farmer and ask his views about the Clinton-Trump debate. The farmer, a Jon Jackson, was effusive about Donald Trump and thought he had performed brilliantly during the debate. Jackson could see no areas needing improvement. Hmmm.
What stuck with me, however, was when he pointed to Hillary’s proposals around helping the middle class. Jackson compared her proposals to a pig farmer’s use of “free corn to entice the pigs to come in for slaughter”. This short story reflects what Jackson and many others associate with Government “handouts”. Jackson sees them as the fast track to entrenched poverty and lack of individual initiative. Hmmm.
In the 21st century, in the richest country in the world, most center left Americans hold the idea of a laissez-faire government seems inconceivable. A world recession is not the fault of any individual, other than without concerted government action, the recession could get worse and the individual will be worse off much longer. Progressives think government spending could put people back to work and gradually improve the economy. Is this “free corn”.
Healthcare could be viewed as “free corn” in the sense of Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare subsidies. But when comparing the richest country in the world to some 25 other industrial countries (like Germany, France, England, Canada, and Japan), how can the US not recognize healthcare as a right?
Mr Jackson and many others see Clinton’s proposals for more Government spending as contributing to the problem which spending is trying to fix. It is a bit ironic that Mr Jackson and many others do not as easily recognize “corporate welfare”.
For example, the tax code is full of “corporate welfare”. There is “free corn” for this company and that one, for this industry and that one, and for this wealthy person or that one. Mr. Jackson’s comment, however, only recognize government spending as give aways and overlooks tax code expenditures.
Mr Jackson specific inference was that Hillary Clinton was using “free corn” to garner votes, and Donald Trump was not. Hmmm.
Telling Mr Jackson that he was wrong and that everyone would be better off if the Middle Class grew faster is likely an unproductive path.. Too often government assistance is inefficient. While the aide may help some, too many remain locked in the destructive economic rut they were in before the government assistance.
It is also tempting to point out to Mr Jackson that Donald Trump has been a frequent visitor to the public trough and has benefited hugely from the many exemptions and loopholes in the tax code. Mr Jackson might consider such comments as partisan.
What might be more valuable is to take Mr Jackson comments to heart. Suppose Mr Jackson is a sincere person who wants to be fair. Jackson and many other Americans may genuinely disagree with the center left approach to problem solving yet be quite at ease with progressive goals, just not the methods to achieve them.
What about a moratorium on increased government spending? During this time out, all government assistance programs as well as all tax code expenditures would be reviewed and rank by amount and estimated return. Hmmm.
Americans might learn how outlandish many of the tax code deductions, credits, and loopholes are (and who benefits), and second, any new government assistance program proposals would have to produce a “return” better than the existing ones. It would be even more interesting to see how the value of each tax code expenditure ranks against the return of each spending program. Hmmm.
I wonder whether this is what Mr Jackson was thinking?