Shutdown Smutdown

I’ve been asked to comment on the federal government’s partial shutdown and looming debt ceiling debate. I’m humbled. But I have to fall back on basic principles for an answer. The question could have been, “Do you believe in stealing?” Because what does the federal government really do?

As mentioned in a previous column they tell workers they may not work for less than $7.25 per hour. If a potential employer can’t turn a profit paying $7.25, the federal government says the worker must remain unemployed. Would you be in favor of shutting down government programs that steal our freedom to work?

How about government programs that have replaced fathers with paperwork and street gangs, like the welfare state has done for a huge portion of urban America? I remember sitting at a bus stop in Oakland and asking a black teenager, “What have you been up to?” He said he’d been robbing white folks to make up for past misdeeds to his people. This may not sound like a direct result of the welfare state but it uses the same concept of redistribution set by its example. We certainly wouldn’t condone such behavior. Yet if we use the federal government to conduct business in the same way, is it alright? At least that kid had the guts to go out and do it himself.

In a study of American households from June of this year, only ten percent had retirement accounts adequate to provide anything but a meager existence or a life of drudgery until death. Would this have happened if there was no Ponzi scheme disguised as a retirement investment called Social Security? The false sense of security obviously played a part in our lack of concern for the future.

One of the essential services still funded is military recruitment. Really. In a country already spending about as much as the rest of the world combined for this thing they call defense. Even CIA reports state that the 9/11 attacks were a result of blow-back (retaliation by radicals from U.S. occupied lands).

What is really essential about all these services provided by the federal government are the livelihoods of people employed to provide them and the people who receive them. The inefficiency and waste created by services funded through coercion rather than mutual consent is largely ignored, as if they are as natural as growing grass. Maybe they are. Our system of government is now widely described as a democracy, where theft is legitimized by a vote. The transition of services from the private sector to the public one is unchecked by that “damn piece of paper,” as G.W.Bush described The Constitution.

There are clearly too many who don’t realize the impact of the waste created by big government. The most vocal opponents to big government still call for reform, rather than elimination of all these programs. Those who understand that reform only slows this cancer are marginalized and considered insane. That is because there is really no way out. The good folks employed by and served by the behemoth have debts to pay and families to support. A grand plan to wean ourselves is even more beyond reach than a plan to externally manage an economy properly at all.

The services cut back in the shutdown are mostly done so as theater. The $2 billion NSA spy center in Utah has opened despite the shutdown. A $98,000 outhouse was built in Alaska in spite of this dire lack of funding. The government will continue to borrow. The Fed will continue to print (buy bonds that will never be paid with increased money supply that devalues that money we have saved).

The dependent classes, from single moms to the heads of giant energy conglomerates, will continue to grow on the backs of responsible people until they are bled dry and we become lawless as a path to survival.

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