This information provided by The Federal Observer, http://www.federalobserver.com
By Tracy A Ryan
Every where one looks today we see the government handing out money. People are becoming more and more convinced that they just couldn’t get along without government help. The needs and justifications vary. Civil servants and military personal believe they have earned the right to retire before age 50 with a tax funded pension so generous they will never have to work again. Social security recipients are convinced they are only getting their fair share of the money back that they paid in year after year while employed. Farmers will argue that they couldn’t survive without price supports or direct federal handouts. Without the farmer how would you eat? Business and industry receive fat subsidies all the time. They will often argue about protecting of American jobs from foreign competition. State and local governments seem incapable of cover the costs of maintaining their own infrastructure or of providing public education without federal moneys.
The federal government is definitely the big problem. For decades the Congress of the United States has approved an ever expanding role for Federal spending. The two old political parties, (the Republicrats), have occasionally protested, but neither has proved capable of stopping this enormous growth. In fact they have become co-dependent with the bureaucrats. The Republicrats have used their positions as elected officials to promote their own parties as "the two party system." They have passed rules and regulations in most states that create legal barriers to non-Republicrat candidates. They have happily taken millions of dollars to subsidize their campaigns, national conventions, and other direct political activities. They are in fact simply two sides of the Government Party.
And the situation is getting worse. After three years of having the self proclaimed "conservative" oriented party in office federal spending has increased faster than at any time since the Lyndon Johnson era. No coherent discussion is even being had about how to get a handle on the ever growing problem. Americans are being led to believe that more government spending is good for them. After all almost everyone is getting some sort of benefit.
This thinking is dangerous. Government spending always comes at the expense of private sector spending. This is true whether financed through taxation or borrowing. Government spending is always wasteful. The small portion that is aimed at capitalization through infrastructure improvements is among the most mismanaged and fraud ridden of all. The majority of all the money spent by government is consumption related. Taking money out of the private economy where it might be invested in some long-term capital asset or durable goods and redirecting it to current expenses is the largest direct economic effect of government expenditures. The effect of that is to make all of us a little poorer. We become more addicted to the government supports as government supports increase. The national welfare is systematically undermined, as the population is converted from productivity to subsidized indolence.
Fighting this insidious problem is not easy. A libertarian oriented think tank called the Cato Institute is one good place for small government activists to find useful information on the baleful role of government growth. They publish numerous studies indicating where cuts can be made now to start the process of undoing the growth of government. Recently Chris Edwards presented an involved policy analysis outlining 300 billion dollars in proposed federal cuts to discretionary domestic spending. Many of these are the things we thought we’d get, but never heard word of, after the Republicans took control of Congress 10 years ago. They still need to be done. Perhaps the only way to get going on this is for you to take the plunge and become an active Libertarian Party member.
July 21, 2004
Tracy Ryan, chair of the Libertarian Party of Hawaii, can be reached by email at:
© 2004 Hawaii Reporter, Inc.