Though I can't say for certain, I'd be willing to bet that, perhaps 20 years prior to our nation's Civil War, some predicted it. History shows that, as early as the 1830's, the argument over slavery was heating up. As more states entered the Union the argument got more intense. We know that as early as a decade earlier, the "great compromiser" Speaker of the House, Henry Clay, engineered "The Great Compromise", trying to head off a civil war between the north and the south.
Today; we have the potential for a second Civil War, with its seeds not planted in the frustration of race relations, but with the current struggle between the "producers" and the "takers".
Since the end of WWII the growth of wealth in America has been unprecedented. While it is true that much of our economic success was "macro-oriented". America was able to assume a dominant position in the post-war world through several means. Our massive war production had set off an explosion in growth and innovative technology. Factories, previously geared toward making weapons and war planes and war materials, were ready, post-war to translate that massive manufacturing capacity to peace time needs. Accordingly, we established near monopolies in passenger plane and automobile production. Factories making G.I. sleeping bags and uniforms converted to making clothing for the world. America's farms, that fed the world's military forces, geared up to feed a broken world's people.
Spurred by this massive economic growth, the demand for leaders of industry expanded and these positions were quickly filled by the millions of G.I.'s who, with character forged in combat, and educated by the G.I. bill, assumed the reins of leadership. Thus was born the American middle class, the first significant coming of a class of folks who could, through discipline learned from the great depression, and responsibility learned from defending our country, roll up their sleeves and carve out a piece of the American pie.
While earlier America consisted of the rich and the working poor, this new middle class would lead America to a level of wealth and luxury unheard of in world history. This newly expanded personal wealth led to an explosion of economic activity; Televisions and modern appliances and new cars and family vacations quickly became the level of standards for the middle class.
However, in less than two decades the government, that ever-present quotient in societal design, decided that the associated increase in tax revenues needed to be allocated to a vast array of social programs, some of them needed, most of them not. There is much talk today of "unintended consequences". That would certainly apply to President Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society Program" of the mid-sixties. Presumably, Johnson, bearing massive guilt for instigating a war in Vietnam that was poorly planned and poorly executed, decided that his legacy must be The Great Society. It has bankrupted America.
No one knows exactly how much The Great Society Programs have cost us. The New York Times on April 16th, 1985, reported a study that estimated the costs into the tens of trillions of dollars. This figure is too vague. In looking at current federal liabilities in total (social security, medicare, etc) America has a total of $78 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities. But this does not include all of the annual outlays expended for these programs over the 45 years of program existence. The level of orgasmic spending to "buy the vote" of America's "takers" is beyond calculation and the level of fraud and abuse in these programs will never be known. We do know that throughout the years there has been massive fraud and abuse and government at all levels has been negligent in reforming the system.
For example, food stamps became a currency of trade in New York, Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles. Thousands of newspaper reports of food stamps for drugs have documented the abuse. In the 60's Johnson built thousands of public housing projects that today sit in ruin or serve as graffiti-worn headquarters for urban gangs and were previously dubbed as war-zones during the racial riots of the 60's and 70's.
The Great Society Programs have since produced three generations of perennial "victims"; those who refuse to work, and believe government (read the taxpayer) owes them a living. As the GS program evolved it became increasingly known among welfare recipients that having more kids produced a bigger welfare and WIC check, and Medicaid paid for both medical and dental bills so nary a "taker" has been concerned about co-pays, the staggering costs of drug use, poor dietary habits, because someone else is footing the bill.. More recently, the government has made it less "embarrassing" to be on the government take by issuing debit cards for the chronic welfare recipient. (At this moment that state of California is trying to deal with welfare recipients using their debit cards in gaming casinos)
The IRS, through Congressional tax legislation, has also become an avenue of largess for the unproductive. Large family child exemptions and child tax credits have made it possible for more than half of our citizens to pay no income tax whatsoever. Even illegal aliens, by filing a W7, INIT, receive child tax credits from the federal treasury. Having "no skin in the game" the "taking half" of America no longer cares how federal money is spent or how big the deficit has become. In fact, it is this group of people who represent the largest voting block for big-spending politicians. It is also why the Democrats refuse to do anything about illegal immigration; they know this huge group of people represent a significant vote block who would support Democratic candidates.
Alas, the shrinking middle class is no longer able to fund all of these generous benefits. The exporting of American jobs has diminished the middle class to a level insufficient to support the unproductive. Many workers who previously tried to make a living honestly have fled to the "takers" and hopped on the government gravy train.
And now, after three decades of big-spending government, the bill has become due and there's no money in the till. Politicians, desperate to retain the seats of power, continue to pay the "benefit ransom" to retain political support. To do so, our federal government has resorted to borrowing from Japan and China and to print money to support the "addict class".
So now, squeezed from the top by the ultra rich and squeezed from the bottom by over 150 million "takers", the middle class has begun to revolt. The birth of the Tea Party is the first manifestation of that revolt. It's almost funny that the politicians look warily at those militia boys up in Idaho when they should be looking at Joe The Plumber. As working Americans struggle just to survive we are now paying closer attention to those employment racial and education quotas that are long ago obsolete. As the hard workers shop generic in the grocery store, and seeing WIC and Welfare recipients living it up on their dime, there is resentment. As public and private unions, supported by Democrats, score ever larger packages of pay and benefits, on the taxpayer dime, frustration is mounting. As working Americans pay huge health care premiums and see welfare recipients paying nothing for their medical bills there is frustration. The abuse is widespread and American workers have said "enough"
Will Americans take to the streets as in the Middle East and storm the seats of government? Will Americans vote with their wallet and stage a massive refusal to pay their taxes some April? Will the inequity between the "takers" and the "givers" finally result in violence? Well, it does sound bizarre doesn't it? Stranger things have happened folks.
I don't have a crystal ball and can't predict what is going to happen. I only know that, when the Republicans propose a $61 billion deficit reduction package and the Democrats propose a $4 billion dollar reduction..against a massive $3.75 TRILLION dollar federal budget, that games are being played folks. The CBO is estimating that interest on the national debt will constitute 43 percent of our total tax revenue by 2015, necessitating massive printing of greenbacks, coupled with massive borrowing from China, to finance all the gravy programs.
Maybe there will be a second Civil War and maybe not, but there's a growing sense of anger from those who are paying the bills. God willing, we'll settle it at the ballot box, but even that's in doubt. The "taker" side, public and private unions, illegals, welfare recipients and university elites form a very large coalition with alot to lose. The only way the taxpayer could succeed would be to form a coalition much larger than the current Tea Party and run the liberals, and even the "good ole boy" school of Republicans who haven't gotten the message, out of town.
But then again, maybe China will just call their notes and demand repayment on their loans to us and we'll all be finished. That would be the ultimate "foreclosure".