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(Links to documents appear after the summary.)
The welfare State today is the great hope of voters. The State is viewed as a healer. It promises to provides a safety net for failure, disasters, and inconveniences. The State has replaced God in the twentieth century as men's earthly hope.
This hope will be shattered in 2000. Overnight, the checks will stop coming. The promises will be broken. The dream will die. What will replace this dream? As yet, we do not know. What will replace the lost income? We do not know. For some people, income will simply stop. How many? Millions. Maybe tens of millions. Maybe more.
This political rule cannot be broken: power flows to those who take responsibility. In some communities, this will be churches. In others, this will be gangs. One thing is certain: if the national governments cannot provide the money, they will lose power, especially in small towns and rural areas.
The public is dependent on the State to a degree undreamed of in 1960, let alone 1930. People have made their long-term plans -- or refused to make any plans -- on the assumption that the State will always be there to bail them out. This assumption will not survive 2000.
All over the world, overnight, the welfare State economies will die. The world will get a lesson in the trustworthiness of political promises.
There will be shifts in power in 2000 and beyond that today's politicians and bureaucrats cannot imagine. They sit there today, confident that their pronouncements will be obeyed. They assume that their laws are enforceable. They assumer that people will do what they're told. Not for much longer.
If the welfare checks stop, governments will fall, all over the world.
Plan on it.
And if you ask yourself, "How could this happen to us?" read the poem that told us why back in 1919. (January 3, 1998 entry.)