If you visit Mount Olympus, you will see scores of crumbling statues to false gods once worshipped by ancient Greeks. The same is true in Rome, where statues of political gods, notably those named Caesar, lie in ruins.
We are more sophisticated today. Moderns don’t bow to Zeus. Many of us, though, put our faith in the false god of politics, despite its track record of not being able to achieve all of the things we project upon it.
Now come two far-left politicians who apparently believe their philosophy is not receiving the worship it is due, despite a track record of failure.
Hillary Clinton continues to move left, jettisoning positions she once held – from support of the Iraq War to her “evolving” stance on same-sex marriage – believing voters headed that way will put her in the White House.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has one-upped Clinton by publishing a 13-point plan he calls the Progressive Agenda to Combat Income Inequality, which some have compared to Newt Gingrich’s 1994 Contract With America. De Blasio’s proposal, though, might be likened to a contract hit on America.
“Short on detail (such as how to pay for anything), but big on vision,” as the Economist noted, de Blasio’s plan “calls for raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and indexing it to inflation; bolstering unions; bringing in national paid sick and family leave and universal prekindergarten; ending tax breaks for firms outsourcing overseas, and closing tax loopholes for the rich.”
Not worrying about paying for anything is classic liberalism.
The minimum wage has been converted into something it was never intended to be – a permanent salary regarded as the chief support for a worker’s family long term. Instead, it should be taken for what it is, an entry-level position that gives workers an opportunity to move up to a better job at higher pay, taking full advantage of advanced training programs offered to them.
Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, however, may result in robots replacing workers. Food will be ordered from a computer at your table. It’s already happening in some restaurants.
National paid sick leave? Why do liberals focus so much on time off instead of productivity? Such a policy would be ripe for abuse.
Preschool, if it’s public and made mandatory by politicians, would give liberals an even earlier start at shaping young minds into their political and social image by getting kids attuned to the things liberals believe to be true. School choice is the answer. Providing vouchers lets parents sidestep failing public schools and the indoctrination in favor of an academic environment that offers a better education and less brainwashing.
The answer to firms that outsource jobs overseas is to reform a tax structure that has caused them to flee the country. Ditto on loopholes. A flat tax or fair tax eliminates all loopholes and most deductions. It would free up capital that would produce more investment at home, leading to more jobs, more people working and more tax revenue.
Though false gods can’t deliver, stupid people still act as if they can. Republican presidential candidates must have a message that will bring Americans to their senses and remind them of economic, foreign policy and moral standards that once produced results.
Cal Thomas, a columnist with Tribune Content Agency, appears in Opinion on Wednesdays.