Prior to affiliating myself with the Libertarian party in 1980, my interest in politics was minimal. I had liberal leanings for the usual reason; an antipathy towards the apparent authoritarian tendencies of conservatives. I have since come to view left and right with similar regard.
I have run for US congress three times, once in Maryland and twice in San Francisco. My involvement in politics is much less direct these days. Parenting takes priority.
Nonetheless, I feel compelled to make a statement about the self evident tendency of government to grow and the responsibility we citizens have for the nature and manifestation of our government.
Polls show that a majority of citizens feel our government is too big, too expensive, and too pervasive. Yet year after year, it grows, consuming over 20% of the gross domestic product.
Whenever public sentiment reaches the point of demanding that politicians 'cut the fat', the politicians then propose to cut out the meat, the very aspects of government that people do perceive a need for such as police, fire fighting, etc. at which point the public sentiment reverses.
Citizens are disabled by their disunity and their ignorance. Politicians are empowered by their self- interest and control of the treasury.
Politicians continually fall at the bottom of trustworthiness polls, yet time after time, many citizens are sucked into the misperception that government will save them from all manner of evil.
A time of crisis is coming upon us. The proportion of the population retiring from the work force is increasing and the proportion that is working, providing the revenue that government requires to fund increasing obligations, is declining. The cost of Medicare and Social Security will soar to new heights. And so must taxes. Our children will find themselves paying taxes at an intolerable rate and unable to outvote the retiring class. How will the bills be paid? Increased immigration to help pay the bills will be mighty tempting.
It doesn't have to be that way.
You must apply yourself to understanding the situation so that you will know where to take your stand.
Understanding economics and politics is critical to understanding the situation.
First, you need to make it a habit, to hold constantly as a given, that ALL INDIVIDUALS ACT IN WHAT THEY BELIEVE TO BE THEIR OWN INTEREST. It doesn't matter whether they are in government or in the private sector. Read that again. If you want to tell me how that is not so, go ahead. Email me.
Second, Individuals will use whatever power is at their disposal to advance and protect their own interests. Individuals in government happen to have more than the usual amount of power.
Third. It's the economy. Repeat that frequently.
Also remember "TANSTAAFL". THERE AIN'T NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH! Everything that is consumed has to be paid for by someone. Wealth doesn't just happen, it has to be created. The main consequence of getting government to do things is to make those things cost more than otherwise.
Fourth. We participate in a mixed economy, part capitalism, part socialism. Particular socialist programs: Social Security, Welfare, Medicare, government schooling, price controls, production limits, corporate subsidy, etc.
Fifth. Economic collectivism (which includes socialism) undermines the incentives for production, distorts the functioning of the price system, makes everything cost more, and, in the end, demolishes personal freedom.
Sixth. WE DO NOT HAVE A FREE MARKET! Whenever you hear someone claim that some problem is caused by the market, or the free market, they don't know what they are talking about.
Seven. To have a free people, you have to have a free market. The market is but the sum of the activities and choices of people. Free market = free people
More to come