Friday, May 30, 2014
Random ruminations from your resident curmudgeon...
"The government is all of us," said Hillary Clinton.
That is a nice platitude, but is it real?
I will submit to you that it is a myth.
After all it helps those in charge to have the masses believe that the government works for them, that our leaders work in our best interest. Yet politicians, who claim to represent you and me, remain remarkably disconnected from the people that have elected them.
Government, like any business or charitable organization, promotes the goals of those that control it. In that sense, government at any level is no different from a for profit enterprise like IBM or a charitable entity like the Red Cross. It follows the direction of those that control it.
Which begs the question, who controls our government?
We as voters like to think that we do. We elect people that on the surface appear to represent our interests. We like to think that government is benign, working for the good of all citizens.
And nothing could be further from the truth.
The common perception is that our country is a democracy, where voters interests and well being are represented by the people elected and sent to Washington for that purpose.
Instead, I would posit that our nation is an oligarchy.
The definition of an oligarchy is a form of government in which all power is vested in a few groups, individuals, or dominant controlling classes.
Look at our current situation in this country and one would think that lower taxes, quality job growth, and limited government (which means more freedom for the individual) would be desirable objectives.
Yet, we see our government moving in the opposite direction.
The takeover of our healthcare industry; the impending environmental regulations by fiat on the utility industry that will raise costs dramatically; the harassment of innocent citizens by agencies like the Bureau of Land Management; a growing regulatory burden on business, to name a few, points to a government that is unresponsive to citizens and is in control of a few dominant groups.
There is no secret that government has become burdensome and onerous. It is the nature of government to grow and expand its power.
It does that because of the conceit and arrogance of those elected and unelected officials in Washington who think they know better how to govern our lives.
But it also moves in this direction because that government control of our economy, our businesses, and our individual lives financially benefits those that are on the inside of the oligarchy.
Our government has deigned to chose the winners and losers in the economy. Think of General Motors, where the feds decided to break the law and benefit certain classes of creditors (predominately the UAW) over others. No reason given except that it was believed by those in power- who benefited from the support of said UAW- to be the best course of action.
Other examples abound, such as the AARP reaping huge gains from the restructure of our healthcare system through the restructure of Medicare by having participants shunted to their Medigap insurance program. The fact remains that the government works for those that control it.
And it is not you and me.
Adam Smith, the classical economist, explained that in a normally functioning society, our self interest fills the marketplace with goods and services. The baker counts on hungry people to buy his bread. The tailor relies on people wanting to be clothed to purchase his wares.
A government that works for you and me promotes an environment where self interest can be promulgated and can flourish.
Instead, we have a government that throws sand in the gears of commerce, that burdens citizens with an unhealthy level of taxes, that places our nation on financial thin ice to benefit banks and their interests.
It is a government of oligarchs. A government that benefits the few, those connected and in power.
Thomas Jefferson said, "The government that governs least, governs best."
We do not have the best government. We have a government that is intrusive, authoritarian, and disconnected.
And it certainly does not work for us.
And that, my friends, is my view.