Lord Acton said power tends to corrupt. I couldn’t agree more.
In a previous post, I wrote about how the government reflects the people it governs. Despite low public trust and congressional approval, throughout the years the citizenry has demanded more and more from the federal government.
It is believed man is inherently evil. When it comes to politicians, it is believed they are inherently evil, self-interested, conniving and indifferent about the country.
The debate, I believe, shouldn’t be so much about taxes and revenue but over which philosophy to embrace. Will we continue to embrace the philosophy that the government is ours and foreign nations’ nanny? Will we continue to embrace the philosophy that the government is capable of managing 300 million Americans problems and create a utopia? Only socialist/communists/Marxist can make such a promise.
David Boaz described the concept of spontaneous order. Many institutions–like langauge, law, money–were established without government or a central authority. Imagine a food market where everyone speaks a different language and offers different goods. People communicate effectively and leave the market with their desired goods. Men are intelligent and complex beings, much more intelligent and complex than 353 politicians and over 200,000 bureaucrats (mind you, the biggest employer by far is the Department of Defense).
State politicians should receive much more scrutiny. As you may often hear, Florida’s poor is different from Texas’ poor. I believe state governments are not only more trustworthy but can be more efficient too. As you may also have heard, “government closest to the people is the most responsive.”
Various government programs, most notably the housing programs that were pushed by Clinton then accelerated under Bush Jr., have made matters much worse for all of us. Good intentions do not always bring good results.
Both the wealthy and poor receive welfare. Both the wealthy and poor do not have to find alternatives to function. Too many have accepted the belief that if the government doesn’t step in and do something–whether it be in the private sector or personal affairs–the world will crumble.
Instead of suffering alone and going through the normal bankruptcy process (instead of bailouts); for humans, rely on state governments, places of worship, civic centers and charity shelters, friends and family, private donations, etc.; when everyone is interconnected and dependent on government favors, when one person or corporation fails, their actions affect non-actors.
Similar to the drug war, too many have accepted the philosophy that if we change our senseless drug policy, the world will end. Well, Portugal, a country plagued by the war, decriminalized, not legalized, drugs in 2001, including heroin and cocaine (Glenn Greenwald did a great study on Portugal’s drug policy for Cato Institute; nice interview here). Alas, the sky did not fall and crime and drug abuse dropped. The President’s drug czar and VP Biden traveled throughout Latin America to dissuade leaders not to follow suit. Brazil, Mexico and Argentina and other nations, having seen the light, followed suit.
I was once challenged to name something the government is not involved in but I failed. We are forbidden to remove the tag on a mattress. FTCLDF filed a lawsuit against the federal government for banning the sell of raw milk (25 states prohibit the sale of raw milk). The government has their hand on every single aspect of our lives. Different interest groups and wealthy individuals are battling over which slice of the D.C. pie they can grab for themselves. There are about 30 or so interest groups ranging from labor, construction, defense and military, health and medicine and finance (insurance and real estate).
Capitol Hill is one large auction.
Last year’s total lobby spending was $3.31 billion and 12,654 registered lobbyist. How can we limit corruption and take money out of politics by demanding more of the federal government? The two are incompatible.
Senators Bernie Sanders proposed constitutional amendment; the Occupy movement; Dylan Ratigan’s “Get Money Out” initiative; none of these actors, despite good intentions, address the real problem and have only offered bandaids and nice rhetoric.
A friend tried to convince me that while she disagrees with many government programs, specifically welfare, she will only like to decrease and not abolish it. I replied that you can never give government (too big) a bite of your cookie, for the nature of government is to grow.
Like I stated in the beginning, men are inherently evil and politicians are worse. The only tool to restrain government and, therefore, stop government corruption, is a different philosophy that is supported by the Constitution.