Guns and Butter or Feathers and Latte

Many of you may not recall the expression “Guns and Butter” but that was the hallmark of the Democrats under Johnson during the Viet Nam war.  It meant that the US was strong enough and rich enough that we could afford to take care of all the social issues and needs at home and at the same time we could fund the cost of the War in Nam.  Under Johnson the troop levels reached slightly over 500,00 men in Nam.  Here 40 years later and millions more in poplulation and we decry the 135,00 or so troops in Iraq–go figure.   By the way the big private company that made millions off the Nam war was Brown and Root from Houston.  Yep, it became part of HBR years later.  Brown and Root built the airfields, barracks etc in Nam and made a handsome profit.  But there was little hue and cry about it because the Democrats controlled by the White House and Congress so who wanted to complain?   I mention this not to attack Democrats but more to show that there is nothing new under the sun and that you should be suspect of all politicians at all times when they are beholding to interest groups, be they corporations or unions.   Remember that union members did very well during the war in Nam; there was a tremendous demand for military and defense equiptment and those industries were heavily unionized.

The main thing that the Guns and Butter program brought us was the beginning of runaway inflation.   It took over a decade to finally corral it.  It wasn’t until Reagan became President that we finally got it under control because he made it a priority.  The prosperity of the ’90’s would have been impossible without the taming of that beast.  The Johnson years had lots of Butter in the Great Society programs he fostered.   The cost of those entitlement programs are still being paid  for by us and the cost is only accelerating with the passage of time.  You go through the list yourself and tote up the costs.  The theory was Kenseyian and the belief was that we could borrow and spend whatever it took and we didn’t have to worry about the debt; that the debt would somehow be eased or eliminated because we would have such a more productive society.  Go back and read the statments and debates from that era for yourself.  I think you will find my paraphrase is legitimate.  It was touted that everyone would be elevated and more productive and have good jobs and contribute to society with their labor and funds and thus all ships would rise on the high tide coming.  Is LA a shining city on the hill these days?   How about Detroit?  Has South Philly been transformed into an Eden that I somehow missed?

It seems to me some of our current politicians are trying to revive exactly the same approach to our government and our society today.  They sure wouldn’t want to offend anyone with even the mention of guns though so I chose Feathers for them.  Those feathers  wouldn’t do harm to  anyone or the envoirnment.  But they do like their perks and indulgences so the latte would be their cup of tea, pun intended.   As I look at some of the proposals for new programs I am numbed at the cost.  You can read the papers and websites as well as me.   Add them up.  Where is the money coming from to pay for all this?  The answer is that it won’t, even with the godawful tax increases proposed.     But it will give the politicians lots of “goodies” to hand out to people.  Pure bread and circuses for the masses. 

I believe the market can create the opportunities we need in our economy and especially our energy needs if the Government will stay out of the way.   What has the Government done for you lately?   I am from the Government and I am here to help you.   That one line won the election for Reagan.  Government more often than not is the problem, not the solution.   You are reminded that those “Butter” programs always carry criminal penalities with them.  Recall Hilary’s healthcare plan?  What gave it power was the criminalization of medical care outside the authorized Government program.  If you and your personal doctor agreed on a course and cost of treatment but it was not within the highly regimented structure you could both go to jail.   You HAD to do it the Government’s way. 

Life is about priorities and choices.   We have to make them and so should our Govenrnment.   Its power comes from us and its wealth and money is only that which it takes from us in taxes.   Those are our assets and it is our money.  We are the ones that produce everything worthwhile in this great nation.  The Government never gives you anything.  It only returns some portion of what it hasextracted from you.

If you have ever looked inside a medicine cabinet in a bathroom in a house built before about 1950 you will notice that there is a very slender rectangular slit in the middle of it.  It was for disposing of used razor blades when the razors were two sided and certainly not throwaway.  Behind those walls you will find thousands of old razors slipped through those slits by bleery-eyed dads.



Filed under Economics, government, history, Politics

2 responses to “Guns and Butter or Feathers and Latte

  1. Dan Munyon

    I Love It!
    Just found you today.
    Sending to all my friends.
    Please,please give me more!
    Thank you!

  2. Pingback: Recent Links Tagged With "hbr" - JabberTags

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