Down the Slippery Slope

Down the Slippery Slope

© David Burton 2013

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     America today is not the America of our forefathers. America is now sliding down the slippery slope of progressivism - of a big and growing government, of more entitlement programs, and of a large and growing percentage of the population that expects more and more government handouts while doing less and less to support themselves and to contribute to the overall economic health of the nation.

     Liberal socialism or, as some call it, progressivism, is now poisoning the wellspring of American greatness. The conservative virtues – the traditional American virtues – of liberty, hard work, free enterprise, private initiative, a belief in and an adherence to the Constitution and the basic laws of the nation, and aspirations to moral greatness – no longer inspire or animate a large section of the American public.

     With the spread of liberal socialism has come an attitude within our government that conservatism requires monitoring and opposition by all the “right-thinking” liberal progressives in power so that America can continue of their perceived path toward the utopia of “social justice.” What we are now witnessing are the poisoned fruits of this “holier-than thou” attitude in the facts being uncovered concerning the terrorist attack in Benghazi Libya, the IRS harassment of conservative organizations, and the head-long rush to throw taxpayer’s dollar after dollar into a multitude of entitlement programs. This progressive ideology has permeated the minds of many of our government workers to the point that unsavory actions advancing the liberal cause are not questioned or doubted. Therefore, whatever is done under the umbrella of the progressive mantra is ideologically sanctioned, irrespective of what laws may be bent or broken.

     We are now living in an America where more and more “free stuff” is given away by the government. There are now 47,000,000 Americans receiving food stamps and the number is growing. These people know for whom to vote for in order to continue receiving their “free stuff” – and it is not anyone with a fiscal conservative bent. Those who have been receiving two full years of unemployment benefits (which discourages looking for work and motivates people to work “off-the-books” while collecting their windfall) also know for whom to vote. The soon to be recipients of “free” health care know for whom to vote. Everyone who has had the government pay their mortgages, who got cash for their “clunker” cars, who gets a government job, who gets other “free stuff” knows for whom to vote. They vote for the people and the party that keeps promising and giving them more and more “free stuff”. They vote with their pocketbooks and not with their minds or their hearts. The never ask from where the “free stuff” is coming – in truth, they don’t care. It’s “give me mine today and the devil take tomorrow!”

     We are now living with two competing ways of life. On one side we have a form of government which has been the envy of the rest of world, but one in which we have to “work for and pay for what we earn.” On the other side we have a form of government that offers us a “free all-you-can-want way of life” as long as supplies last. Unfortunately, there are few who can resist the attraction a “free all-you-can-want way of life.” What is even worse is the fact that the “free all-you-can-want” government has to steal from the “work for and pay for what you earn” government in order to pay for all the free stuff it gives away, until, at last, the “work for and pay for what we earn” government goes bankrupt.

     Fiscally conservative American values are vanishing from the map of this country and we are now sliding down the slippery slope of populism toward a European-socialistic economy – those very economies that are collapsing today in Europe.

     The “Occupy” riots across this country in past years were mere dress rehearsals for what lies ahead – years of unrest sparked by the increasing discontent of the unsuccessful who want to seize the fruits and the bounty of the successful.

     One can blame the takers for their greed and their gluttony. But there is another aspect of the problem that is just as unsettling and which, perhaps, poses a greater threat to the American way of life. This aspect of the problem is that America now has a large, entrenched and growing government bureaucracy which sees its own growth and security as a paramount objective. Its secondary objective is to foster a progressive agenda, one in which they and their progressive ideological leaders determine what’s best for the rest of us, the “unwashed masses”. Serving the American public is largely irrelevant to this bureaucracy. Fiscal conservatism is anathema to them – fiscal conservatism requires small government, government efficiency, minimum cost of government services, and elimination of non-productive and non-essential government programs – all of which are opposed to the primary objectives of these entrenched government bureaucrats.

     Many government agencies, programs and workers look to promote their own objectives –– to continue in existence, to grow as much as possible and to not make waves. These agencies and bureaucrats essentially have a monopoly. There are no feedback mechanisms to monitor and evaluate their performance; they do not face a competitive environment; they have no stockholders or owners to whom they are obligated. They exist simply to perpetuate themselves and their vision of what America should be. They have very different objectives than those who work in the private sector and this leads to some very dysfunctional results.

     To an alarming degree, America has become a nation of takers who use the government’s entitlement programs instead of making their own way in the world. These takers are aided and abetted by the people who administer these programs and who owe their jobs, their income, their benefits (medical coverage, vacation days, sick days, seniority, etc.), and their retirement to the one number that matters - the number of people they can enroll in the entitlement programs and maintain on the public dole.

     “The government in Britain recently did something interesting.
     “It asked everyone receiving an ‘incapacity benefit’ {similar to America’s disability section of Social Security} . . . to submit to a medical test to confirm they were too disabled to work. A third of recipients . . . didn’t even bother and dropped out of the program rather than be examined. Of those tested, more than half . . . were found fit for work and a quarter were found fit for some work.” [Emphasis mine]
        - - -
     What about the “disabled” here in America? “In 1960, when vastly more Americans were involved in physical labor of some kind, 0.65 percent of the workforce participants between the ages of 18 and 64 were receiving Social Security disability insurance payments. Fifty years later, in a much healthier America, that number has grown to nearly nine-fold to 5.6 percent. [Emphasis mine]
     “In 1969, 134 Americans were working for every officially recognized disabled worker. Five decades later that ratio fell to roughly 16 to 1.” [Emphasis mine]
        - - -
     Perhaps even more telling is the fact that “the number of people on disability has been doubling every 15 years (while the average age of recipients has gone down)” [Emphasis mine] (Ref. 1)

     We now have ensconced in our economic system what correspondent Chana Joffe-Walt calls the “Vast Disability Industrial Complex.” This consists of the recipients of disability insurance, the lawyers that get the recipients their benefits, the government workers who administer the disability program, and the politicians who see that the laws they pass give their constituents these benefits and, in return for which, they are re-elected to office.

     The often-times shady disability lawyers get a cut of every winning claimant’s award. The “more clients, the bigger the take. That’s why they run ads on TV shouting, ‘Disabled? Get the money you deserve?’ {But is the money really deserved?}
        - - -
     “- - - As the nature of the economy changes, disability programs are sometimes taking the place of welfare for those who feel locked out of the workforce – and state governments are loving it. States pay for welfare, the fed pay for disabilities.
     “- - - {It’s time to} ask every recipient {of disability benefits} to get a thorough examination, just as they did in Britain. Maybe the results here in the United States would be interesting too.” (Ref. 1)

     Ah, but think of the calamity this would create. Some people would actually have to do an honest day’s work – how degrading! Some ambulance-chasing lawyers would have to find new cash cows! Politicians would have to find other ways to pander to their constituents! Perhaps the greatest indignity of all would be that some government programs (and their funding) might shrink – there might even be a RIF (Reduction In Force) and the government workers affected would have to find employment elsewhere - perhaps in a more productive corner of the government or even in the private sector.

     And disability insurance isn’t the only program in which our government is pushing to hand out more of the taxpayer’s money. Here in Massachusetts, the unemployment rate has dropped from nearly 9% to just over 6%. Fewer unemployed means less people needing food stamps – right? Wrong! At the same time the unemployment rate has been declining here by more than 30%, “the number of Bay Staters on food stamps has jumped from 720,000 to 850,000, a fifteen percent increase. (Ref. 2)

     The economy bottomed out around 2007-2008 and the need for food stamps should have been the greatest then. “And yet, from 2007 to 2011, spending on food stamps went up an astonishing 135%. [Emphasis mine]
     “And it’s still going up.
     “How does this make sense? Shouldn’t ‘more jobs’ equal ‘less welfare?’
     “It turns out, that’s all part of the plan.
     “Both the federal government and the {Democratic administration in Massachusetts} have been spending your money to recruit more non-traditional ‘clients’ to become dependent on … your money!
     “- - - ‘Thanks in part to vigorous federally funded campaigns by nonprofit groups, the government’s AmeriCorps service program, and other organizations urging [Emphasis mine] people to accept government handouts, the number of food-stamp recipients has soared.’
        - - -
     {The government food-stamp program has now assumed a life of its own and it has demonstrated a voracious appetite to grow and perpetuate itself. So, how to satisfy this monster?} “By expanding it to the less-than-needy. College students . . . are being recruited {in Massachusetts} to apply for food stamps. . . . Thirty-five states now have no limits on the assets a food-stamp recipient can own. . . . The Obama administration’s been pushing the notion of ‘categorical eligibility’ – which means if you get a single dollar of welfare aid, you are automatically food-stamp eligible. The result is the ‘heat and eat’ scam – states like Vermont sending out $5 heating vouchers so families can get right on the dole.” (Ref. 2)

     Our liberal politicians are proud that they have put more people on food stamps than ever before in our history. But, there was a time when people ran for public office promising that, if elected, there would be fewer people on welfare. As Bob Dylan wrote, “The times, they are a-changing.” Americans have never minded helping the needy, but do we really want a governmental policy that encourages, fosters and promotes dependency? “Why put up with the hassle of a job when you can stay at home, live off your neighbors and make a politician happy, all at the same time?” (Ref. 2)

     Not only do our liberal politicians and the bureaucrats beholden to them encourage more and more Americans to get on the dole, but they even do the same with immigrants and potential immigrants. Their appeal to immigrants is now, come to America to get your freebies! Once upon a time, it was, come to America only if you will not pose a public burden!

     Instead of requiring or encouraging self sufficiency of immigrants, the Obama administration’s policy has been to promote “welfare and EBT benefits for immigrants with a ‘welcome’ package and promotional website that encourages new arrivals to take advantage of the nation’s generous government largesse.” (Ref. 3)

     A Massachusetts state representative said: “I think it’s a complete outrage that we’re encouraging people coming here to get public assistance. . . . We should be encouraging people to be self-sufficient. These programs are rampant with fraud and abuse.” A group of U.S. senators has asked the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) “why food stamps and other benefits are being promoted [Emphasis mine] to new immigrants. The agency’s website includes a comprehensive handbook directing immigrants on how to obtain food stamps, Medicare, disability and other taxpayer-funded aid.”
        - - -
     “ - - - the nation’s immigration policy historically has been to deny admission to anyone who would become ‘a public charge.’ . . . {This administration’s immigration policy} flies in the face of what the immigration policy is supposed to be. . . . People with skills can’t get in, and our USDA is advertising benefits for people who are immediately going to go on welfare. There’s a great bit of irony there.”
        - - -
     “Federal law prohibits the granting of visas to those likely to be welfare reliant, yet DHS {Department of Homeland Security} actively promotes these benefits to millions of new arrivals every year.” (Ref. 3)

     “It is a long-held principle of immigration that those seeking a life in America are expected to be able to care for themselves financially and contribute to the financial health of the nation. The Administration’s actions show this principle is no longer in effect. Encouraging self-sufficiency must be a bedrock for our immigration policy, with the goal of reducing poverty, strengthening the family, and promoting our economic values. But Administration officials and their policies are working actively against this goal. At the same time, those who would be self-sufficient are denied or delayed in their admittance.” (Ref. 4)

     Under the Obama administration “The USDA signed a pact with Mexico requiring 50 US-based consulates to hand out information to Mexican nationals on how to obtain welfare and other benefits.” - - - “The agency created a Spanish-language ad in which an individual is ‘pressured’ into accepting feed stamps, even though she says her family is self-sufficient.” - - A USDA web site gives Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) “recruiters tips on how to ‘overcome the word no’ when seeking to sign up new recipients {for the food stamp} program.” (Ref. 3) Clearly, the immigration policy of the administration in Washington is to encourage welfare dependency for anyone desiring to come to the United States. The results of this policy: more and bigger government; more public spending resulting in more taxes or more federal debt, or both; more government workers who owe their livelihoods to the liberals; more people on welfare who, once they become citizens, will support the liberals that gave them their freebies.

     So why does it surprise anyone that some bureaucrats in the IRS have been caught trying to make life difficult for conservative organizations like the Tea Party? Could there be any doubt about what the attitude of all the people affected by the government’s progressive policies would be toward conservatives, whose objectives are diametrically opposed to this welfare dependency policy? Why should it surprise anyone that these people should work as hard as they could to harass and stop the conservatives whose fundamental objectives are to shrink big government, bring down wasteful government spending, reduce dependency, and to get Americans off the public dole and back to work?

     It is being reported that the IRS employees who targeted conservative organizations did not do so for political reasons. This may well be true. Instead, they may have targeted these organizations for harassment because, a) they arrogantly believed that as “the government” they knew what was best for the nation and were in a position to implement their concept of “what was best for the country, and b) they feared that fiscal conservatism would lead to smaller government, less government spending and the potential elimination of their jobs – in other words, they wanted to protect their jobs and their power. For whatever reasons, the results that we are seeing are clear evidence of the destructive effects of unbridled growth of government, the enormous amount of money being thrown into burgeoning government social programs, and the self-serving interests of those receiving the government jobs and the associated government handouts. They are saying “Don’t take away my goodies! All of this is simply a natural consequence of progressivism.

     The IRS employees who went after conservative organizations may have done so because they felt that these organizations were a threat: - to their jobs, to the government programs that supported and funded their jobs, and to the concept of limiting government spending. “The Internal Revenue Service's scrutiny of conservative groups went beyond those with ‘tea party’ or ‘patriot’ in their names—as the agency admitted Friday—to also include ones worried about government spending, debt or taxes, and even ones that lobbied to ‘make America a better place to live,’ according to new details of a government probe. (Ref. 5)

     “The IRS’s targeting of groups associated with conservative organizations applying for tax-exempt status is a predictable consequence of the progressive narrative that conservatism is a form of neurosis, the lashing out of ignorant, violent ‘bitter clingers’ against a changing world that challenges their racial privilege, economic power, and religious superstitions. As such, they {all conservatives} require monitoring by all right-thinking people {the liberal progressives in power} who are progressing toward the utopia of ‘social justice.’
     “Whether or not someone in the Obama administration directly ordered the IRS to pursue this partisan harassment is irrelevant. Like the Corleone family, the administration has a lot of ‘buffers.’ No one had to be told, just as progressives don’t have to tell anyone in Hollywood to make yet another movie or television show denigrating and demonizing corporations, conservatives, Christians, or the CIA. That is what’s so insidious about this ideology: it has permeated the minds of people to the point that unsavory actions advancing the cause are never questioned or doubted. In the progressive mind, dogma rules, not principle. Hence the righteous act to advance ideologically sanctioned political ends without bothering about coherent or consistent principle.” (Ref. 6)

     So we witness the explosive growth of entitlement programs and the attendant rise in the number of government employees administering these programs. We see government employees and programs urging, if not brow-beating, immigrants to get on welfare programs. We have the spectacle of employees of the supposedly non-political IRS harassing conservative groups. And we even have the disaster of Benghazi with the loss of four American lives. Is Benghazi also the result of an attitude within our government that “they” are all-knowing and should be allowed to run the government as they see fit – never mind what our laws, our Constitution and the American public say?

     Has the President ordered ”them” to take the actions (or inactions) described above? Probably not. To do so would invalidate the concept of plausible deniability. Instead, there only has to be the understanding of what is expected and/or what will be tolerated on the part of those in power. It just takes a wink and a nod from above.

     What we are witnessing in America today is a presidency and an administration of Plausible Deniability. The president and those protecting him avoid having the truth and the facts presented to him in order that he can deny knowledge of improper behavior and unpleasant events. But, deliberately avoiding being told is just as bad as being told and doing nothing to correct a problem. Deliberate ignorance is simply not an acceptable excuse! Leaving the dirty-work to underlings so he can keep his hands clean is not what we should expect from an American president or from an American Secretary of State. If, as he claims, the President was not told the truth about Benghazi and the IRS, then the president should fire all who withheld the facts from him.

     The consequences of Plausible deniability can be deadly. “What’s the difference between keeping President Obama ‘updated throughout the night’ on a deadly terrorist attack in Benghazi and keeping him ‘updated throughout the night’ on a deadly tornado in Oklahoma?

     {The difference is} the president could have actually done something about Benghazi. [Emphasis mine] (Ref. 7)

     Immediately following the deadly tornado in Oklahoma, President Obama was on the phone to the governor of Oklahoma and the mayor of the city of Moore, asking what aid they needed and immediately initiating the process of getting federal aid to the tornado-devastated area. Contrast this with the President’s actions during and immediately after the Benghazi attack. When asked by a reporter “Where was he {the President on the night of the 7-hour attack}? What did he do? How did he respond? Who told him you can’t deploy forces, and what was his response to this?” the White House response was that asking these questions was “offensive.” So, who did the President talk to during the Benghazi crisis? “We don’t know.
     “’He didn’t talk to his secretary of state [after initially being informed of the attack], he didn’t talk to his secretary of defense, he didn’t talk to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs. - - - {So} what orders did Obama issue as Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods repeatedly requested military support in Behghazi?
     “Again, nobody knows.
     “OK, somebody knows –but they ain’t talkin’.” (Ref. 7) They aren’t talking because they want to make sure the president is insulated from any blame. They want to ensure that he continues to be cloaked in the blanket of plausible deniability. “They” (whoever they are) know what’s in the best interests of the president and what’s best for this country. ”They” are at the root cause of Benghazi, the IRS scandal and much of what else ails this country. “They” think they are smarter than the rest of us and it’s up to “them” to determine how to run this country in spite of what the rest of us want.

     America should not have a president who is ignorant of crucially important facts or one who claims to be so. There is something considerably amiss at the top when intelligence information from the CIA is deleted, distorted or withheld from America’s Commander-in-Chief. The cover-up story that was concocted to supposedly avoid giving sensitive information to the terrorists responsible for the Benghazi attack was a blatant lie and a last-ditch attempt to avoid the truth. The real truth is that stating the attack was perpetrated by terrorists in no way would have given sensitive information to our enemies. The real truth may well be that the attack showed incompetence and callous disregard for the safety of our diplomats in Libya. The real truth may be that the story initially given out immediately after the Benghazi attack was most likely a stupid attempt by misguided individuals to gain political advantage for their candidate during a presidential election.

     The Benghazi and IRS fiascos indicate an administration that has allowed the nurturing of an atmosphere which apparently permits and covertly encourages the twisting of truth, the ignoring of facts, and the commission of inappropriate, if not illegal, actions. Such an attitude can only be one that is fostered and encouraged from the top.

     The scandals coming to light are beginning to expose the fact that “progressivism is a totalitarian ideology that seeks more and more power in order to institutionalize its dangerous ideas about human nature, the good life, and justice, and that considers any end advancing these ideas to be justified.” (Ref. 6) Is the old America gone? If so, does America have the will to bring it back or are we on the slippery slope from which we cannot stop the slide leading to a European-style socialism that can only result in bankruptcy, poverty, loss of liberty and social unrest?


  1. Shady system boosts disability claims, Jonah Goldberg, Boston Herald, Page 17, 4 April 2013.
  2. Beggar’s banquet for the non-needy, Michael Graham, Boston Herald, Page 17, 8 June 2012.
  3. ’Outrage’ over fed EBT push for Aliens, Dave Wedge, Boston Herald, Page 6, 20 November 2012.
  4. What Is Comprehensive Immigration Reform?, Bill Ong Hing, The Blog, 15 November 2012.
  5. Wider Problems Found at IRS, John D. McKinnon and Siobhan Hughes, The Wall Street Journal, 12 May 2013.
  6. What The Obama Scandals Reveal About Progressive Ideology, Bruce Thornton, The Jewish Press, Page 6, 24 May 2013.
  7. Prez twisted up over Benghazi, Michael Graham, Boston Herald, Page 15, 22 May 2013.


  27 May 2013 {Article 163; Govt_44}    
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