Monday, July 25, 2005

The Capitalist Manifesto, Part One

"We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money."

Not too long ago I got into an argument (albiet a civil one) with the guy I'm rooming with next semester. We were talking about taxation, government programs, and such. At one point he asked me whether I thought the government should provide for the people. My opinion? It would be pretty to think the government could provide adequate health and welfare programs for its citizens, but too often it shows what a remarkable mess it can make of such things. Because, let's face it, the Federal Gummint has become quite a cesspit of fiscal irresponsibility and enormous incompetence. Too often it bungles the programs that originally were intended to help the average Joe maintain his footing in terms of distress--but too often they leave the average Joe in a worse state than he was before they intervened.

It is my personal view that the individual states, counties, and workplaces should provide for the people. Does the state bungle things as well? Yes, it does, but on a much smaller level. And, anyway, a lot of time programs left up to states work much better than a federally mandated ones. Far below that, it seems only rational that a business should provide for the general welfare of its employees. In a truly competitive job market, employers would be jockeying for favor among potential workers to see who can offer the best benefits--thus wresting welfare programs out of the hands of the Feds and the state and putting them in the hands of private instituations who will probably be able to better handle them on an individual basis.

The amount of tax levied for archaic institutions like welfare and social security are very much disproportionate to the amount of good they'll do people. By the time a lot of folks hit retirement age, S.S. is going to be a complete bust. We'll have put God knows how much cash into it for zero return. I'm not an economist--thank Heaven--but that seems like a pretty silly thing in which to "invest."

At any rate, to answer my roommate's question in a roundabout way--no, I don't think the government should provide for the people. Why? Because when it does it inevitably makes things worse. Giving our cash to the Feds is like giving Curly Fine a frying pan and telling him to make dinner--you just know he's going to end up setting the house on fire, or some such devilment. The thing is, when Curly sets the parquet aflame, it's hilarious. When the Feds misplace or misuse our money, it's a travesty. It is, however, a travesty that many people assume is a success. Because, y'know, it's going towards helping people! Y'know, with, I dunno, welfare and shit. Yeah! Because the government knows what's best for us, right? After all, the Feds are the ones who gave us the IRS, and the INS (who guard our borders with about as much skill as they showed in keeping Mohammed Atta from taking down a tower on th WTC), and the low-flow toilet, and the...

You get my drift. After all, the government is in place because of us--too often people view the government as above the people in a sort of ex nihilo fashion, without realizing that it is only above us inasmuch as we gave it the power to be so. And it would be silly to pay the government for services which it should not have to provide, given how badly it mismanages them. But alas, these Federal programs are white elephants--easy to point out, but hard to get rid of.

The fact that my roommate could ask such a question shows how far we have gone down the road of socialist statism (or statist socialism, take your pick). And it's interesting to see how long ago the specter of welfare was raising its head. We are a generous nation--but sometimes in giving we forget our own limitations. And the limitations within the Federal Government are many.


Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

Good post -- you wanna cross-post it at GoV?

5:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about the New Deal? That was one of the greatest periods of American history.

8:51 PM  
Blogger Gryffilion said...

One of the fallacies of the 20th and 21st centuries is that the New Deal improved the American Economy. New research has started the--reasonable and correct--hypothesis that Roosevelt's New Deal made Depression *worse*. Go to this link ( and check out "FDR's Folly:How Roosevelt and His New Deal Prolonged the Great Depression" by Jim Powell for more information on the subject.

10:29 PM  

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