This year’s election is boiling down to the role government should play in America. Should we have bigger government that provides more and more things for more and more people, or should we have smaller government that provides only essential services as stipulated in the Constitution?
Since the election of ’08, and in particular since the rise of TEA Parties across America, the debate has used words like socialism and capitalism to characterize the two sides.
Merriam-Webster defines socialism in part as “any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.” The same source defines capitalism as “an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.”
Necessarily socialism has a political component because in all of its various forms only government can implement socialism, whereas capitalism is simply an economic system based on private ownership.
So, which is better: to have the government own or control everything, or to let the people have private ownership?
For the past 110 years or so progressive politicians in both parties have created bureaucracies to meet an assortment of needs for a variety of different groups. Common sense says every time government creates a new program or bureaucracy, government must raise more money to pay for the new service, and government raises more money by raising taxes.
Needless to say, as government grows bigger and influences or controls more of our lives and livelihoods, we have to pay the government more and more money in taxes. That’s the very point TEA Parties began making three years ago.
Nobody denies Washington wastes a lot of our money. In fact, politicians routinely run on promises of cleaning up Washington and eliminating waste, and yada, yada, yada…. We’ve heard it all before, and since the ’08 elections we’ve seen Washington increase government spending, ergo raising the need for higher taxes, every year. That’s not terribly surprising since virtually all governments raise spending every year.
Do we really need all that spending? No. Has anyone in Washington slowed that spending? No. Has anyone cut any waste out of government spending in Washington? No, and double no.
The problem has gotten so bad in recent years that we now owe more than we produce every year, and we are quickly getting to the point where we won’t be able to pay for anything in Washington except interest on the debt. All the money we pay in interest goes for no benefits whatsoever. That’s a huge waste of dollars.
We’re getting to the point where the government would have to own or control everything we produce in order to pay for all the money we’ve borrowed as well as interest on that debt. And, that brings us back to the question of whether we want government to get bigger or whether we want government to begin cutting back on spending.
In essence, those who have grown government bigger and bigger are espousing socialism regardless of their empty campaign speeches and slogans promising to cut waste out of government. Voters need to judge politicians on what they’ve done, not on what they say.
Daniel L. Gardner is a syndicated columnist who lives in Starkville, MS. You may contact him at Daniel@DanLGardner.com, or visit his website at http://www.danlgardner.com Feel free to interact with him on the Clarion-Ledger feature blog site http://www.clarionledger.com/section/blogs06. Gardner’s columns are also featured on http://dannygardner.opinioneditorial.com
His views do not represent the views of Starkvillenow.com