You are frog legs.

Posted by Arkady K. On 7/20/2009

For those not familiar with peculiarities of French cuisine, frog legs are a popular item and you might be surprised to learn that there is a good chance you too can soon be served on a platter in a snooty Paris restaurant. Truth is, middle class America is slowly being boiled alive and the executive chef is cranking the heat up ever so slowly so as not to raise suspicion. See, if we were thrown into the boiling water right away we might object to the proposition and stage a potentially violent protest. However we were coaxed into swimming in a large lukewarm body of water, thinking how lovely and refreshing life is. Problem is, life is losing it's refreshing appeal as the environment around us rapidly changes. Higher taxes, inflation, affirmative action, government takeovers and neglect are piling up. We better embrace the severity of the situation as quickly as possible, because we are boiling alive.

In the last general election, it would appear that the people have spoken and tilted the majority to one party rule in Washington, tossing out more Republicans and ushering in the most liberal president in history. "The people" as those represented by the 53% that cast their vote may or may not be the middle-class I am writing about, but it hardly matters at this point in time. For those with an obvious advantage to supporting government expansion, living on government subsidies, nationalized health care and relaxed immigration policies; life has probably improved. For those who simply do not require these services, but have enough money to brush off tax hikes or ignore the diminished purchasing power; life has probably remained about the same. But there are many others, hopefully still the majority, that fall into a third and most frustrating category - who neither benefit from the services nor rich enough to ignore the increased cost of living! We are the frogs and we are boiling alive.

You see, there comes a point in the life of a regular middle-class American when the realization that things are simply not improving or scarier yet, things are getting worse hits home, and this realization is simply a function of how much freedom one experiences. While freedom is a complicated concept to describe, let us assume that money is freedom. For if you have money you are free to do whatever you please and the less of it you have, the less freedom you experience. For example a rich individual that has enough money to live without working and can travel, experience and buy whatever pleases the heart, is as "free as a bird". Whereas an individual working a minimum wage job, supporting multiple kids and can barely save enough for clothing is as free as a bird...without wings...or legs. This individual is shackled to the mediocre job, demanding kids and the prospect of something "better" is constantly postponed. In our society we feel compassion for the people whose freedom is compromised, these people in turn rely on the government for assistance. Sometimes this assistance is required and well worth the effort, but more often than not this assistance simply prolongs without improvement this life devoid of freedom. More importantly, the assistance comes at the expense of freedom from those that do have it. Even more importantly, freedom is not transferred from one individual to another - it simply vanishes into thin air and with each passing day the amount of freedom dwindles, as we are boiling alive.

The big debate is health care and the executive chef has convinced the legions of soon to be boiled frog legs, that a crisis is afoot. Solution to this crisis is of course the implementation of a system that is by all accounts failing in the rest of the world. When the architect of the Canadian health plan goes on record admitting the failures of the system he once envisioned, the excuse for us to follow suit becomes harder and hard to justify. "We are proposing to give a greater role to the private sector so that people can exercise freedom of choice" says
Claude Castonguay, after realizing that throwing more money at the problem and shunning the private sector leads to rationing of life. Of course we are being told this will not happen, no, the government option will remain an option and simply will be provided to the less free by the more free. Or will it? Turns out, the massive one thousand page bill mandates in a few short years, that private healthcare will be phased out. Hidden in a web of political red tape, the language is clear

"So we can all keep our coverage, just as promised—with, of course, exceptions: Those who currently have private individual coverage won't be able to change it. Nor will those who leave a company to work for themselves be free to buy individual plans from private carriers"

So what happens now? Under the guise of a crisis, we are being forced to accept a system that we know does not work, with promises that are already being broken and for the sake of what? No system is perfect, but surely a solution cannot consist of breaking the system even further, stealing whatever freedom we have and ruining the only remaining viable health system in the world? We are boiling alive.

In the midst of this, our financials markets are in turmoil and the spending spree has only accelerated. Our government is taking on more debt at a faster rate than any other time in history because someone told the executive chef that spending money stimulates recovery. A novel concept really and had it worked would have made the previous chef the most popular guy in town. Beyond the inevitable debt incurred, the value of the currency that we rely on to purchase goods has dropped and continues to drop, but our economy has not improved one iota. Jobs are still hard to find, businesses are still not hiring, banks are still not lending and wages have declined as more and more frogs look for jobs. Less wages combined with more expensive goods yields a fantastic net loss and as we watch our freedom crumble, the people in charge spend and spend spend and the rest of us? We are just boiling alive.

In the midst of all this chaos and turmoil a new Supreme Court judge is being questioned, mostly for show, considering that her confirmation is guaranteed. What does this new judge mean to this country and why is her nomination and inevitable confirmation important? Because we will for the first time in history, appoint an individual for life not because of her qualifications or merit, but because of her cultural background. A woman, who believes that because a test cannot be passed by blacks, the test must be racist. A woman, who has all her life claimed that her Latina background enables her to reach a BETTER decision than a white man. A woman, who at first blush appears to be nothing more than an affirmative-action selection, goes so far as to
admit this fact and do so with a certain level of dignity and pride.

"With my academic achievement in high school, I was accepted rather readily at Princeton and equally as fast at Yale, but my test scores were not comparable to that of my classmates. "

Should she not disqualify herself based on that fact alone? What are we worth, if we no longer value excellence? On what moral grounds do we fail to promote and encourage those individuals with more skills, intelligence and talent over those that fit the correct skin and cultural profile? Perhaps Sonia Sotomayor had a difficult childhood, perhaps in a different scenario she could have excelled - but she did not! We cannot repair the mistakes of the past, by punishing the present, because we will destroy our future.

Life is not fair, life is not balanced and not equal. Not everyone is born with an Einstein's brain, Jordan's athletic abilities, Tiger's perception, Buffet's financial sense. Sonia should no more deserve to be on the Supreme Court if a white man is a better lawyer/judge, than I should deserve to play in the NBA if a black man is more athletic than I am! Not all frogs are green, but in this pot, we are boiling alive and you are frog legs.
"It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.” - M. Rothbard