Video: The Reason TV reminder of mission creep in federal government

posted at 10:55 am on December 21, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

One doesn’t have to believe that ObamaCare has “death panels” to know that handing this much power to the federal government means a whole lot of unintended consequences, abuse, fraud, and waste, says Reason.tv’s Nick Gillespie in his latest video. The only constant in the Beltway is that government programs grow and move away from the original limitations of their stated purpose. Nick uses TARP as the most obvious example:

TARP demonstrates the issue rather nicely.  In its original form, TARP provided the Treasury a means to buy back assets that Congress had created through its intervention in the home-lending market, the mortgage-backed securities that became all but valueless in the collapse.  That had a specific and limited purpose.  It took only a few weeks for the Bush administration to convert it into a slush fund for Henry Paulson, and the Obama administration almost immediately expanded its use even further, all while Congress cheered both and pressed for even more corruption of the process.

How many MBSs did TARP buy back?  Uh, let’s see if I can count them all — oh, yeah.  Zero.

Medicare started off as a stop-gap measure to provide only safety-net health-care coverage to seniors who couldn’t find their own coverage.  It has grown in 40 years to crowd out all other insurers except coverage provided by employers — and as anyone on Medicare can tell you, coordination of benefit issues between Medicare and private insurers usually leaves the insured worse off than with either alone.  Social Security started off paying benefits to those who lived longer than the average American lifespan, and now acts as a pension for a much, much larger segment of society.  Student loan programs started off as government incentives for lenders to help worthy students get an education, and now it will be a single-payer government loan program if the Senate passes the bill that the House produced earlier this year.

Why do federal government programs grow like weeds and expand like Mr. Creosote from Monty Python’s Meaning of Life?  Power corrupts.  These programs provide all sorts of opportunities for favor-peddling, influence buying, and lobbyist interest.  That’s why we have to stop these programs before they get started — because once they take root, they are all but impossible to kill.


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It is clear why Cincinatus is remembered thousands of years later, he is the exception and not the rule.

Daveyardbird on December 21, 2009 at 10:58 AM

Where’s his can of compressed air?

jacrews on December 21, 2009 at 10:58 AM

C’mon guys, get it right: “Power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

The significant difference in meaning should be obvious.

horatio on December 21, 2009 at 11:01 AM

BINGO!

This is almost the End Game of Liberal slow,and sure
INCREMENTALISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on December 21, 2009 at 11:03 AM

Too bad it took this Obama sh** storm to get alot of folks here on HA and in the GOP to take the libertarians seriously? Where were all these links to Reason TV during the ’08 election?

abobo on December 21, 2009 at 11:05 AM

Gotta love the logic,when the facts change!!

canopfor on December 21, 2009 at 11:06 AM

Power corrupts. There is no solution to this fact. The only thing that can be done is minimize the impact people corrupted by power, and that is distributed power as far and wide as possible (the opposite of Democratic party platform).

WashJeff on December 21, 2009 at 11:08 AM

Too bad it took this Obama sh** storm to get alot of folks here on HA and in the GOP to take the libertarians seriously? Where were all these links to Reason TV during the ‘08 election?

abobo on December 21, 2009 at 11:05 AM

Let’s start by adding a Reason TV link on the right and dumping the LGF link.

Disturb the Universe on December 21, 2009 at 11:09 AM

Yeah, sorry, the guy they’re making fun of in the video will likely be proven correct. This is a DeathCare bill.

spmat on December 21, 2009 at 11:10 AM

All that plus the Death Panels. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

LibTired on December 21, 2009 at 11:10 AM

Let’s start by adding a Reason TV link on the right and dumping the LGF link.

Disturb the Universe on December 21, 2009 at 11:09 AM

I know. I mean seriously, why feed trolls on someone else’s blog? WTF is that?!?!

abobo on December 21, 2009 at 11:14 AM

Not to worry – Bleeds Blue assures me that once the government controls everything then it works out ok. You see it’s when the free-market get’s it’s grubby hands on anything that bureaucracy and inefficiencies are introduced.

gwelf on December 21, 2009 at 11:21 AM

Everything the Obama admin and congress are doing is for one purpose only…to be able to influence future election outcomes in their favour through power and contol.

royzer on December 21, 2009 at 11:24 AM

True, power corrupts, but corruption corrupts even quicker.

29Victor on December 21, 2009 at 11:27 AM

Every government program functions the same way. They are all:

Corrupt
Inept
Apathetic

Mojave Mark on December 21, 2009 at 12:35 PM

Look at it this way: the Dems are hastening the 2nd American Revolution. Only a catastrophic collapse will force us to seriously re-evaluate what the role of government should be in our lives. It’s coming. We’re out of money and we’re nearly out of creditors.

We can hide this for a little while longer. The Fed can only keep buying UST bonds for a while longer before the other bond holders go vigilante. When that happens, American citizens are not going to be amused to learn that the USD has devalued 20-30 percent–and that’s the good scenario. The bad scenario is a currency crash event. If we still have a country when that is over, I can pretty well guarantee you that most current politicians will be in hiding for the rest of their miserable lives while a new set of patriots re-establishes a federal government based on Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.

The Dems are unwittingly doing us all a favor by bringing this all to a head. A final orgy of corruption.

PD Quig on December 21, 2009 at 5:31 PM

PD, usually when nations descend into economic chaos, strongmen emerge and establish even more dictatorial governments than before. There have been very few times in history, if any, when a catastrophic collapse resulted in an increase in freedom.

If you want that to happen here, start thinking about and preparing the path, so that if things fall apart people who believe in limited government step in.

YehuditTX on December 21, 2009 at 11:12 PM