Eric S. Raymond poses an uncomfortable question:
A few moments ago, I read a review of a new book, Uncivil Society: 1989 and the Implosion of the Communist Establishment, and the following sentences jumped out at me:
This is less a story of dissidents, so-called civil society, than of the bankruptcy of a ruling class–communism’s establishment, or “uncivil society.” The Communists borrowed from the West like drunken sailors to buy mass consumer goods, then were unable to pay back the hard-currency debts and so borrowed even more. In Eastern Europe, communism came to resemble a Ponzi scheme, one whose implosion carries enduring lessons.
I found myself wondering “And this differs from our political class . . . how?”
The U.S.’s very own nomenklatura, our permanent political class and its parasitic allies, has been on a borrowing binge since the Great Society programs of the 1960s. Just like the pre-1989 Communist elites, they’ve been piling up debt in order to buy the consent of the governed with ever-more-generous entitlement programs. It took another twenty years, but the insolvency of California is bringing those chickens home to roost here as well. With the CBO now projecting that Social Security will go cash-flow-negative next year, an equally cataclysmic collapse of the federal government’s finances won’t be long in coming — in fact, I now give it over 50% odds of happening before Obama’s first term ends in 2012.