Less Government = Less Waste
October 17, 2008
There was a great report by John Stossel on the television program "20/20" outlining the ineffectiveness of government in actually doing much it sets out to do, and went through a long laundry list of how much taxpayer money is wasted and progress delayed courtesy of the officials we elect to do the exact opposite.
One of the key themes of the program dealt with unintended consequences of government action, and how there are many ways for government (Congress, especially) to ruin our lives but very few ways for it to make them better.
Examples included legislation left over from the Great Depression that pays farm-corporations (not small farmers and family farms you'd imagine) millions and billions of dollars in subsidies that they don't need but will take because they're there or even pays people NOT to farm, campaign finance reform law that actually stymies challengers and community activist from engaging in the political process due to absurd regulations and archaic language, and the bureaucracy that has tied up reconstruction of New Orleans from hurricane Katrina (three years ago) while private industry and organizations have rebuilt hundreds of homes in the same time.
Government is a lousy agent of progress; it is comprised of people who like the status quo because that is what they are familiar with and ensures that they are necessary. As we evolve, as industry evolves, as technology evolves, so too, must government.
Consider the amount of attention the issue of shipping jobs over-seas has received. Jobs SHOULD be shipped over-seas if the same work can be done elsewhere at a fraction of the cost. That's just good common and business sense. "Buy America" laws for government that mandate materials are purchased domestically instead of from the global market waste taxpayer dollars and increase the amount of debt burdening our nation.
We live in a global economy and protectionist legislation creates unnecessary hurdles, artificially sustains antiquated industry, and does not guarantee any better product than is available elsewhere for significantly less. Instead of focusing on new technology skills and becoming a nation that creates ideas, we largely remain stuck in a production mindset that forces us compete with third-world countries for the cheapest labor.
Is this really the path our nation should be on? Shouldn't we be developing the next great ideas instead of assembling them? Shouldn't we teach our children to aspire to do better than us so that they don't have to worry about competing with people earning five dollars a day? It is fair to ask then, is our country failing us, or are we failing it?
Regardless, much of our society runs despite government. This is a significant point to remember as we hear endless reports about the $820 billion bailout package, presidential candidate pledges to make XY and Z better, and our nation's citizens become more and more disillusioned with our leaders and the system they have created. While government serves very specific purposes (such as defending our country) well, the day to day operations are best left alone and in reducing the amount of government needed to get us through the day, the less money there is to spend and the fewer opportunities for it to be wasted.