Bad ideas are a dime a dozen. It's when political systems are based around bad ideas that the problem begins. You can argue with a bad idea, but you can't argue with an institution. All you can do is argue around the institution. Wisconsin gave us a showdown between a state facing a cash crunch and a public sector union. It was not a battle of ideas-- but of power.
In the showdown between bankrupt states and public sector unions, the left will choose the unions even if state economies implode and jobs are lost. They will choose unions, even if by doing that 90 percent of the union jobs are lost. Because it's not the 90 percent or even the 10 percent that they care about. What matters is that the unions maintain as much of their power as possible. That same thinking drove millions of American jobs to China. The private sector unions declined, but they survived. And the center of union power began to shift into state jobs that couldn't be outsourced with contracts that could be negotiated in-house with their own politicians. If private sector unions gave the left a cut of every unionized business, public sector unions gave the left a cut of every level of government and every taxpayer. A socialist convergence of power under the guise of democracy.
Wisconsin was ugly, but the larger battle will be even uglier. The nation's left of center is not addicted to spending money (they actually become quite enthusiastic about cutting military spending for example), it is addicted to power. Their entire power structure is built around government. A many tentacled octopus with money flowing from the treasury and into a million organizations doing their work for them. They won't let go voluntarily. They would rather see the country go down instead.
Money is at the heart of politics and economics is at the heart of most civil wars. Monopolizing wealth or ending the monopolization of wealth. For the last 100 years, the Federal government has moved from being a shadow economy to standing on the threshold of becoming the actual United States economy. As entitlements spending surpasses revenues, the 'free market' (what there is left of it) is swallowed up by the Federally funded social system. The worse the situation gets, the more entrenched they become. As the shock of any repairs becomes more severe, so does the political risk. And a gradually impoverished nation is less likely to kick up a fuss about socialism. They might even welcome it. Making the system completely irreparable is the country's one way ticket to socialism. And they know it.
The left is no more interested in whether grandma has health care, than whether nurses are getting paid a fair wage or not. Like every business, what they care about is the bottom line. Whether their power, their influence and their wealth is being served by this arrangement. It makes no moral difference to them whether they get there by giving grandma a million dollars of medical coverage or euthanizing her or both. Or whether all the nurses are replaced by immigrants who don't speak the language. What matters to them is whether this moves them closer to their goal of monopolizing the nation's wealth and power.
This is a political civil war fought by progressives who want to replace the old order with their own order. To do that they need organizations that respond to or create public grievances. Each grievance is met with more organizations with their own hierarchies, that are inserted into the greater progressive hierarchy. The goal of each organization, and all of them collectively, is to fasten down sources of power by insuring revenue flows, manipulating public opinion and turning out voters. Whether those organizations belong to firefighter's unions or the KKK or a gang of crazed cannibals doesn't matter to them except from the practical consideration of how it serves their objectives.
The economic mess they have created is a Ponzi scheme with a bitter demographic bite. Their system leads to delayed adulthood, fewer marriages, more single parent and two working parent households-- all of which lead to lower birth rates. With the pension funds already raided and lifespans increasing, there aren't enough younger workers to fund retired workers. Add in an economic crisis, falling currency values and higher unemployment-- and the crunch begins. Even as they reassure everyone that the system is working fine.
The EU and virtually every developed country with falling birth rates have tried to use immigration to stay ahead of the curve. Immigration serves the interests of the left, giving them a new power base to work with that is hostile to the conservative order-- but it does not solve the underlying problems. Immigrants generally come in times of prosperity and begin leaving during a downturn. Since the economic downturn, Mexicans have been leaving the United States, and Turks have been leaving Germany. Migration follows economy. Few people move to countries where there are no jobs. And quite a few decide they no longer want to stay in them. Immigration is based on dreams of prosperity, socialism on inevitable decline. A socialist country will attract new immigrants so long as it has jobs, business opportunities and an improved standard of living. When it loses those things, even the natives will begin to flee.
Even in good times, immigration comes bundled with its own social problems. Problems that cost more money to address. Mass immigration from failed states by populations with cultural problems means that those same problems will make their way across the sea or the ocean, and risk turning their new country into a failed state. For progressives, those social problems usher in a game of divide and conquer, with the natives being warned to tolerate the newcomers, and the newcomers told that only the progressives can protect them from the natives. But in an economic decline, the Ponzi scheme again implodes.
But none of this really matters to the left. They are not invested in the financial or cultural viability of the system. Chaos and crisis serves their interests. A strong hand means more government intervention and a chance to position themselves as the protectors of the people from the government, or the protectors of government from the people. They have played and do play both roles with equal ease, just recently they have gone from civil libertarians outraged at the Bush Administration, to friends of the government outraged that the Tea Party would undermine the system. Neither role really matters. To the left the morality of a system is determined by its utility in their cause. When they are out of power, the government is a collection of thieves and war criminals. When they are in power, it is the only thing standing between us and the howling jungle.
The left intends to seize power. They don't care about the objective viability of the system. They assume that once they have absolute power, everyone will just do what they're told. At some point their authoritarian monopoly of power will implode along the lines of basic functionality. Which is what happened in the Soviet Union. But not until they have completely exhausted everything, wiped out agriculture, turned industry into an unworkable joke and made sure that the country is run by people who can't tie their own shoes. That's what happened in the Soviet Union-- and now it's happening here. Only when they fail so badly that it is impossible to go on any longer, will they agree to a few "free market" reforms. Before trying to go back to the old ways anyway.
The left isn't capable of stopping what it's doing, not because they can't do simple arithmetic, but because they refuse to give up power. Or contemplate another strategy, such as letting the free market run wild for a decade, to build up their support and revitalize their movement. They're getting what they wanted and it's everything they imagined. Absolute power is within their reach. The old order giving way to a new order. The aristocracy of the ideologues getting their chance at power back where it all began. And they would rather consolidate power, hang on to it with their teeth and ride the wave down to the rocks-- than cooperate and reform the system.