Comments and observations on social and political trends and events.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Paradox of the Outraged - Axel Kaiser - Mises Daily

The Paradox of the Outraged - Axel Kaiser - Mises Daily

This article nicely summarizes the issues involved with the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. My favorite quote is:

Self-reliance was progressively replaced by a mentality of rights with no duties. As a result, a gigantic disconnect arose between what people are willing to pay in taxes and what they expect in return in the form of government benefits. Because promising welfare is the easiest way to win elections, politicians kept expanding the size of government over the decades. And because the public would not have tolerated an honest increase in taxes to finance the new welfare programs, governments started borrowing the money necessary to finance them. Thus, governments became dangerously in debt. Then the financial crisis came, to a large extent caused by government actions: welfare programs to make true the progressive "homeownership-society" dream in the United States created the structural conditions. Government-sponsored entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who bought and guaranteed around 50 percent of the total US mortgage market, offered the financial vehicle to transfer the wealth; and the Federal Reserve provided the easy money necessary to finance it. In addition, the US government was borrowing and spending money at an all-time record in order to finance its warfare/welfare policies.