Scott Adams suspects there may be one in the near future:
Yesterday I went to Walmart and demanded that they give me a cartload of merchandise for free. This demand was not well-received, so I didn’t get to the second part of my plan which would have involved criticizing the job performance of the people who were giving me free stuff.
Okay, I didn’t really go to Walmart and demand free stuff. You probably knew that because it sounded ridiculous on face value. We all understand that no entity can survive for long if it gives away its resources while asking nothing in return. And this leads me to my point: In the United States, 51% of adults pay zero federal income tax, and yet they have the right to vote. That’s the very definition of a system that can’t last.
I’m not sure where the tipping point is. So far, the power of the non-tax-paying majority has been blunted by the influence of political parties and the misdirection of the media. If the majority ever figures out that they can legally confiscate the wealth of the minority, tax rates will double overnight. My best guess is that the United States will go into a death spiral at about the point that 55% of adults pay no federal income taxes.
It’s not quite a legitimate analysis, in that many of those who don’t pay any income tax do pay payroll taxes. But the general point is correct. No quasi-democratic system, even a very limited representative one, can reasonably hope to survive as long as those who benefit from it are permitted to vote themselves benefits.
It’s too soon to tell, on the basis of a single Congressional election, if the mere threat of partially pruning the entitlement programs is enough for a sufficient number of swing voters to turn against the Republicans in general and the Ryan Plan in particular, not that either will actually solve the dire financial and economic situation in which the nation has mired itself. But if Americans simply will not support the eviscerating of Social Security, AFDC, Medicaid and Medicare despite the fact that they cannot afford to pay for them, it will prove the point that Adams is making.
But he is incorrect about one thing. The USA is already in a death spiral. It simply hasn’t struck the ground yet.