I look forward to the highly informative, blockbuster academic study written 15-20 years from now by some economics professor at some Ivy League school. This report, benefiting from hindsight, will demystify what happens to Americans from now to then.
This study will document how the country plunged into a period of reduced freedom, starting in the late 2000s. It will show that the 2010 decade accelerated the decline of freedom and prosperity.
The report will provide details of how the problem was spawned and nurtured, identifying the culprits and political groups that gave us colossal deficits, mushrooming entitlement programs, 45-plus million people on food stamps, and a crushing socialist health care system nicknamed Obamacare.
This future study will enlighten us about how these enormous federal, strait-jacket economic programs involved little forward-thinking, and how they created toxic by-products: a vastly expanded government bureaucracy and a diminished America that today’s generation passed on to the next.
Mark these words: Such a study will show how the Baby Boomer generation and Generation X robbed tomorrow for gratification today, and burglarized our children and grandchildren of benefits they had to forgo to today’s generation. The great irony is that the young voters of today were aiders and abettors. They let it happen. They were key votes in electing the politicians who are skewering them.
Yes, this economic tome we will read in a decade or two will tell what happened to America when a breed of “hope and change” politicians took over. The study will detail the loss of freedoms, the rise of socialism and victim mentality, and the decadence brought by the blossoming welfare state. It will not be a pleasant read for anyone who believes in economic freedom and free markets. But a lot of I-told-you-so people will be proven right.
And yet there will be some good news for at least some of our future citizens. When the study looks back to 2012-2018 or so, the report will chronicle the differences in the way some states handled this repugnant period in U.S. history compared to other states.
Here is my prediction: In the years ahead, the states that preserve individual freedoms for their citizens, champion property rights, protect the people who create economic wealth — those will be states that productive, gainful people will call home. The states that buck the federal trend and balance their budgets while holding the line on taxes, maintain right-to-work laws and bring public employee retirement and health benefits under control will be the best places to ride out the economic storm.
If Florida stays on the track it’s now on, it will be one of the successful states in future years. Those deciding to live in Florida or move here will be vindicated. Meanwhile, unfunded, liability states like Illinois, California and Michigan will wither on the economic vine. Many of those states’ productive people, and those who make prosperity happen, will pack up and leave for places that don’t penalize them. It’s already happening. States that use regulation and legislation to force workers into unions will not fare well in the years ahead. Neither will cities and states that “backload” their debt repayment, guaranteeing cash flow problems.
If you live in a deadbeat state with big future pension liabilities and a deepening financial hole, come on down to Florida. We’d love to welcome you. But only if you’re committed to pulling your own weight.