It’s My Turn
I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I am deeply concerned about the increasing role of government in our lives. It seems to control nearly everything we do.
In the December 31, 2010 edition of The Wave I was struck by how much of our public discourse is centered on our city, state or federal government; unfortunately, none of it was very positive.
Almost every week we read about how some government agency has failed us, yet instead of sending them packing, we simply give them even more money. The Beachcomber quoted the MTA Inspector General as follows: “infighting and faulty oversight have pushed the MTA’s big-ticket mega projects nearly $2 billion over budget and up to five years behind schedule.” As we know, the MTA is making up for such shortfalls with service cuts as well as fare and toll increases. And the beat goes on.
At what point do we say that creating a new government agency, regulation or tax to solve problems is simply not working? The government controls the military, education, railroads, bridges, tunnels, roads, sanitation, police and fire protection, retirement, healthcare, welfare, mass transit, and regulates almost everything else from agriculture and drugs to the money supply and rent. While some things such as the national defense are the primary reasons the federal government exists, most other things can and should benefit from efficiencies that the private sector can provide.
What does all this government cost us? A lot! In 2007 our national debt was $9 trillion. As of January 1, 2011 our national debt ballooned to almost $14 trillion ($13,871,130,353,817.40) and will grow to $19.6 trillion by 2015!
Where will it be in 2025? Just the interest on the national debt for fiscal 2010 was over $400 billion ($413,954,825,362.17). That figure will sharply increase if the world credit market begins to doubt our ability to control government spending and deems us a higher credit risk.
Have you noticed that the more politicians claim to do for us the worse off we are? Alexander Fraser Tytler (1747-1813) hit the nail on the head when he said, “A republic will endure until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money.” Our representatives have been pushing political opium to which the populace has become addicted. Thankfully there are some signs that we’re sobering up.
This situation is not the fault of Democrats or Republicans but of the American people in general. One thing we can all agree on is that this kind of deficit spending, over $1.4 trillion this year alone, is simply not sustainable.
As Stein’s Law states: “If something cannot go on forever then it will stop.”
At the rate we’re going the United States will eventually be unable to meet its financial obligations. Some future generation, perhaps our grandchildren, will be left holding the bag, an empty bag.
The good news is that the country can be saved IF we remember what made this country work in the first place… free enterprise and the ability to make the most of our lives with a minimum of government interference. This is the foundation that we need to build on to get us out of this mess. We must begin to dismantle the bureaucracy that is killing our economy and personal freedom far more effectively than any foreign power or terrorist ever could.
As a people, we must get back to our valued American principles of individual liberty and a free market economy and leave socialism to the Europeans. We suck at it.
A free market, if left alone, is self-correcting. Risk and reward, supply and demand, are in perfect balance when not artificially manipulated by politicians. In a free market, unlike government run programs, private companies must deliver or they will fail and be replaced by one that better serves its customers. Survival of the fittest isn’t just a good idea, it is how things work in nature and essential for a healthy, efficient and sustainable economy. This year let’s get back to the capitalistic roots that made this country great.
I am confident that we can succeed in reducing the size, scope and cost of government across the board. Once we have made some significant progress the United States’ economy will thrive once again. Americans will be back to work and we will enjoy a renewed confidence both here and abroad. The U.S. will resume its place as the world economic power, which in the end, is the most sustainable type of national security. Given the emergence of China and other huge economies, we don’t have much time to lose.