For most of the Americans that re-elected Barack Obama, social media is revealing that somehow they aren’t getting the guy they thought he would be. This seems incredible to those of us who have long-since recognized him as an incompetent partisan hack, but yet it is completely understandable: people are reacting exactly the way they do when giving a loser a second chance and realizing, early on in that second chance, he’s screwing up worse.
That’s the left wing, definitely. But too many on the right wing are coughing up bizarre theories about Marxist takeovers, and so on—none of which is particularly interesting, well thought out, or even useful. Look, if you really wanted someone to install a permanent Marxist régime in the United States, Barack Obama—the guy whose staff sent a Hurricane Sandy survivor (who merely asked when the promised help would arrive) a form letter thanking her for her support of the troops—might be doofus you want mis-calling the shots.
America generally avoid extremes: a new normal emerges like a Hegelian synthesis of the two and we live with it. Right-wingers think liberals want to put in a liberal Euro-socialist country of high taxes and diminishing population. Left-wingers think conservatives want a…well, who know what they think we want. It changes so often. Something about corporate welfare, grannies plummeting off cliffs, and a Morlock-based society of the rich feeding off the liberal Eloi or something.
The probability is that neither will occur, but a tempered balance between those extremes. Indeed, America in the future might look something like the following.
A kid finishes high school—based on where he lives and whether his parents were involved with him, he might wind up educated or under-educated. Immediately, he looks for an obtains a part-time job. His grades don’t matter much, because he graduated and since the average employer is not much better educated, there is no punishment or reward for grades. The kid feels he’s exceptional, as he has been told his whole life, even though he misspells most words he writes and cannot do math without a calculator.
With the money he makes from his part-time job, he buys a few things he likes (mostly electronics) and begins paying into a local community college. He receives a large amount of money from the federal government here to pay most of his tuition, but the government still expects him to participate in paying a small amount of cash in return.
He attends a community college for several reasons: they are cheap, thanks to the government, and he can attend from home via computer—although to be honest, he does not really pay attention to the streamed content: he plays the computer in the background while video gaming in his bedroom. That’s a lot easier than high school.
His major? He doesn’t really have one: he can always pick one before or even after graduation since the courses are all pretty much the same. There is certainly no need to attend one of the old-fashioned schools since pretty much everyone winds up with a college degree anyway; and majors are unimportant because no one can get a job with one either way.
After he finishes college, he finds work at two part-time jobs: one is as an aisle clerk at a big box hardware store, which he really enjoys. He likes knowing about all the tools and materials and helping people find stuff, even though he wears the goofy apron. His other job is doing some weird database administration stuff at a healthcare office building. He doesn’t understand any of it, and finds it totally boring.
Neither job offers him paid vacations or benefits or a retirement plan. Those vanished a while ago except for some of the really older executives. Only a single-digit percentage of people work full-time at any job, and those opportunities are vanishing. Only the owner of the company seems to work 40 or more hours a week.
In order to pay for those unpaid vacations and all the insurance he has to purchase under law, he needs that second job. His first job, at the hardware store, gives him enough money to pay for things he likes. His father reminds him to start planning for his retirement, but there just isn’t enough money at the end of the month for any luxury like that. And besides, the only good investments out there are low-yield money market accounts. You can save for months and only wind up with an extra penny. What’s the point?
At about age thirty, he has saved a little amount and can afford an apartment. He moves out. Of course, he is living with three other guys because no one can afford a single place anymore. Most of the older generation, who still have some money left, can afford a one-bedroom place. But his generation has to pay into shared everything.
Over time, he drops a part-time job and picks up another. Over the next five decades, he works in food courts, retail stores, a delivery job, and warehouses. He changes part-time jobs every couple of years either by choice or because he is down-sized. Not a big deal: you simply do what everyone else does and get another job somewhere else.
When he is back at the apartment, he spends most of the day playing video games or catching up with acquaintances on a social media network. He spends a lot of his money on light entertainment: coffee shops, pizza places, and eating at small restaurants before they fold.
And so he will live out his life, until he is 80 years old and is deemed ready for social security. Naturally, he has no real savings and cannot believe how small the check is from the government each month. He will wind up like so many others: living with a relative until he is old enough to qualify for a federally-assisted government assisted living facilty. And he will die, penniless and alone like all the others.
This is one possible future based on trends the Czar sees today. While far from a socialist or Marxist state, the future America is one of compromise and making do with little. This future sounds okay to many people and a dystopia to many others; but it is based on what requires the least amount of energy. Entitlements have collapsed, taxes are high, benefits and even full-time employment are a thing of the past. Academia has failed and college is just another federal right.
The worst part of the story is that the people who will live out this cold, unimaginative and unrewarding life are already here. They’re probably in grade school already.