Big Government, Big Consequences

Most people want to the do the right thing, I feel.  Almost everyone wants to make the right decisions, help others, help themselves and their families.  Almost no one is pure evil.  We just have different ideas about how things should work.

How do we take care of the people?  Who should do it? Some people advocate for a more and more social role for the Government.  More welfare, more wealth distribution via taxes on the rich, more Government control of healthcare, the list goes on.

I get that.  In some ways I even agree.  I agree that wealth inequality needs to be addressed, healthcare and education should be better, and the poor should be helped, but is more Government the answer?  The truth is Government has in many ways become too large, too corrupt, too debt prone, too powerful, and too entangled into our everyday lives to help.  There are too many alliterative motives in place.  The worst part is that many of us have invited it, begged for it even.

The Price of More Government is too High

The more we accept from Government, the more dependent we become, the more the Government can get away with.  This is happening already.  Already the Government is building the biggest data center in history aimed at tracking and monitoring every phone call, every email, every Google search, and every other piece of electronic communication there is.  All in the name of fighting terrorism, really?

Additionally we see legislation almost daily, sneaking by on major holidays, giving the Government control over internet communications, ability to kill and detain Americans without trial indefinitely, and more.  (SOPA, PIPA, NDAA)  There are even rumors of the Government using Google and Facebook to gather information on US citizens.

Two issues come to mind when I think about all this.  One, how can give so much responsibility to a Government that is doing all of these things?  Two, what are the dangers of becoming completely dependent on the biggest and most intrusive Government in world history?

Higher taxes doesn’t mean giving to the poor, it means giving to the Government

I’ve argued before that higher taxes do not address wealth inequality.  I hear over and over that the rich should “pay there fair share”, but what I never hear is the Government promising that money to the poor.  Why are advocates of higher taxes for the rich so adamant?  In truth 95% of those additional tax dollars will likely go toward war, pet projects, and pork barrel spending.  Why do we deny this?  Money from the rich will surely be transfered directly or indirectly to the pockets of the rich all the while financing more war and more sacrifises to our liberties – data centers aren’t cheap.

Smaller Government, not Anarchy

Having said all that, I’m not against the Government.  I still enjoy my roads, I appreciate public parks, I am thankful for our national defense, and all the other legitimate services the Government provides.  I just ask for a balance.  A balance between every individual doing their part and accepting responsibility for themselves, their family, and their community – and not passing the buck or expecting the Government to take care of it for them.

It is an important fact that every ounce of responsibility we allow the Government to accept for us is another ounce of opportunity, privacy, and liberty we willingly forfeit.  That’s the trade off.  “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

7 thoughts on “Big Government, Big Consequences

  1. jon

    When I think of public parks, community centers for the elderly, science research (all things that I know you’re in favor of), I don’t see us losing much privacy or liberty as a consequence. I think it’s true that the money spent on public things would otherwise have been directed according to market forces, and the market-driven allocation of resources is generally better in terms of the strength of the overall economy. But when I imagine a world where market forces determine all asset allocations, I don’t like the picture too much. When I take a look around and see the franchises taking over so much of our local commerce, and the impersonal feel of that type of environment, I don’t really care that the market is allocating resources in a highly efficient manner. Efficiency isn’t everything.

    1. Atticus Finch

      You know Jon, I don’t disagree. There needs to be checks and balances on everything. When good is being done I don’t particularly have a problem with it.

  2. Rattlesnake

    I have mixed feelings on this… I agree in general with what you say, but I have a few quibbles.

    I agree that wealth inequality needs to be addressed

    I strongly disagree with this. And this is why: I don’t see “wealth inequality” as a problem. Poverty is a problem, yes, but it is perfectly fair for people to have different levels of income, based on what they contribute to society. Also, I’m not sure if you mean it is a problem that should be addressed by the government, or what, but if that is what you mean, I would say the best thing the government can do is get out the way of businesses. Capitalism is the solution; history shows that capitalism results in a more affluent “lower class.” Margaret Thatcher said saidleftists “would rather the poor were poorer, provided the rich were less rich.” They would never come out and say that straight up, but I would say that that is what they are saying in effect.

    healthcare and education should be better

    Again, I am not sure precisely what you are proposing the solution to this problem is, but what must happen is to limit the ability of public employees to collectively bargain. People might say that public employees have the right to do so, to which I would argue that government is inherently immoral as it requires taking, by force, people’s earned wealth. It is a necessary evil, but there is a moral imperative to always keep it as small as possible and to take as little as possible from the people. And because the government is funded by the people, it serves the people (not the other way around). Therefore, because all government employees are servants, they should be given as little as possible and the “right” to collectively bargain does not apply to them. In addition, limiting their collectiving bargaining ability is very practical, for several reasons. Another possible solution is to privatize education and to establish a voucher system so low-income students have access to private schools. That is the best option, in my opinion. I have no idea what your positions on those things are, but I am putting them out there.

    As for your section called “The Price of More Government is too High,” you went in a different direction than I expected. When you said “The more we accept from Government, the more dependent we become, the more the Government can get away with,” I really thought you were going to talk about the welfare state and entitlements. Oh well. What you said was good, too.

    And the rest is spot on.

    1. Atticus Finch Post author

      Your critiques are well founded. By wealth inequality I was really thinking about the shrinking middle class. But I think “poverty” would have been more aligned to what I was saying.

      I’m certainly not suggesting any of this should be fixed by the Government necessarily.

      “I really thought you were going to talk about the welfare state and entitlements.” Good call I could have taken it in that direction.

      I have made some critiques on the Nanny State many times though:

      1. Rattlesnake

        Good to hear. 🙂

        Regarding your post, “Nanny State – Are the Ideas of Liberty and Small Government Compatible with Social Responsibility,” how would you define a “neo-conservative”? I’m not a Tea Partier either, but that is only because I’m Canadian. If I were American, I certainly would be (although I’m not the kind of person that would stand around holding a sign). I consider myself a fiscal conservative, but not necessarily a neo-conservative.

        But I had no idea a Ron Paul supporter had stumbled on to my blog. 🙂 I didn’t realize how different you and I are ideologically, but it’s nice to be exposed to different viewpoints. I can say that you’ve altered my views slightly already (on gay marriage), so thank you for that.

        1. Atticus Finch Post author

          “Neo-Conservative” to me is a guy like Rush Limbaugh who spreads the stereo-typical conservative ideas regardless of their true conservative ideology. They advocate war, call enemies terrorist, promote small government until it is convenient to use Government to enforce laws that promote their values.

          I have certainly learned something from our conversations as well. That is the thing I really love about blogs and intelligent discussion. You can always learn things and are forced to defend (or realize I’m wrong) your viewpoints.

          Always learning and being flexible to the truth.

          I WOULD consider myself a tea-partier, but the name has been hijacked by neo-conservatives. I wrote about that too. 🙂

          1. Rattlesnake

            My preferred approach to foreign policy isn’t to “advocate” war, but I do think war is the best option sometimes. I generally agree with Bill Whittle in this video. I just think it is unwise not to be proactive with organizations who have stated that their objective is to destroy Israel or attack the United States (in other words, it is better to both attack them on their territory than to attack them before they become more powerful than they are). There is certainly a limit to what I think the government (any government) should be able to do in the name of security, though. And I don’t agree with how Bush executed the war on terror exactly. And, for the record, while I greatly admire Bill Whittle, I try to analyze the evidence and come to my own conclusion, which more often than not happens to be the same as his (so I don’t just believe whatever he says).

            And I disagree that the Tea Party has been hijacked by neoconservatives; maybe it is not the same as it was when Ron Paul started it, but it is still mostly about fiscal responsibility. The United States government’s irresponsible spending since the 1930’s or whenever is finally catching up to it; and people are starting to get tired of establishment politicians not doing anything to solve the problems they created. And, after all, why would the politicians want to change a system that benefits them so much? I’m sure many people in the Tea Party are not exclusively fiscal conservatives, and many people who claim to be Tea Party conservatives aren’t fiscal conservatives at all, but that is what it seems to be mostly about to me, and it is what started it. I tend to agree with Ron Paul on many things, but I don’t think his views on foreign policy are realistic considering Iran’s death wish. He would make an excellent Secretary of the Treasury or something.


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