Even as the Tea Party grows in strength from another round of anti-establishment primaries, the Administration is serving weak tea in Washington. What to do about the moribund economy? Perhaps some more “stimulus” spending? Some more subsidies for politically agreeable businesses? Maybe the Democrats could leave the Bush tax cuts in place for the lower income brackets… or would that “deprive” Washington of too much money?
Let me make this simple for the confused herds of policy wonks stumbling around the nation’s capital, trying to figure out why a disappointing populace won’t create jobs and shovel more revenue into the Treasury. I think the message thundering towards the establishment this November can be summed up in three simple, powerful words:
No more control.
Political control is what’s killing us. It is expressed in hundreds of ways: high tax rates with carefully tailored exceptions, massive bailouts, laws rigged to favor government-controlled industries, restrictions on resource development, and a vast poppy field of subsidies and penalties. The Democrats have added thousands of pages of fabulously expensive legislation since Obama took office. Two messages echo through those pages: Obey and be rewarded. Resist and be punished.
This is not appropriate behavior for a government that was meant to live in awe of the people’s boundless freedom, and work carefully with limited powers to accomplish its sworn duties. Even the most apolitical citizen can now see that it’s also disastrous behavior.
Who are the President and his congressional allies, to lecture us on what products to buy, or investments to make? Who are they to demand even more of our wealth to fund their next round of grand designs? Their failure is obvious and complete. I don’t believe any group of brilliant central planners can legislate prosperity… but if such a group exists, it sure as hell isn’t this bunch.
It’s not surprising that command economies are weak. Business is a thing to be pursued and won. Control is a thing to be feared and avoided. A pile of stimulus dollars, dangled on the end of a string, is not a revenue stream. All the “infrastructure” nonsense sounds good to a community organizer – communities need roads and trains, right? It’s all temporary, though. Prosperity is about careers, not paychecks. It flows from the development of opportunities, not the collection of rewards. What few opportunities the government can truly create depend on the continued exercise of power to maintain. Redistribution is inherently destructive, for it relies on the use of compulsive force… and that force itself consumes a sizable chunk of the wealth it redistributes. All those bureaucrats have got to be paid, and these days, they are paid very well indeed.
Economic strength comes from innovation, which is produced by intense pressure. Businesses seek creative ways to increase their revenue, and transcend the burden of their expenses. The super-State feels no such pressures, so it does not innovate. It believes it can siphon limitless revenue from its subjects, and defer the cost of its failures forever… so it spends extravagantly, and continues wasteful programs until the voters force it to stop, by holding sharpened ballots to its throat. Only rarely can the voters muster that level of pressure.
No group of people can ever force itself to prosper. Substituting the limited vision of a few, for the innovation and risk-taking of many, will always impose a steep price. We speak approvingly of “thinking outside the box.” Washington makes boxes.
The devilish thing about control is that it blames all of its failures on its absence. The “stimulus” didn’t work because it was too small. The flabby and useless ObamaCare program just needs a few thousand more regulations to achieve perfection. Now that the State controls our health care, it owns our bodies, and the First Lady would like to have a word with us about our diet. The free market withers beneath the strain of its freedom, but politicians assure us they can chain it down and cure its ailments with a hundred more surgeries.
Listening to the President who bankrupted a generation prattle about all the wonderful things he could do with another $50 billion reminds us that his blind ideology will never consider a solution that makes the government less powerful. Even his idea of tax cuts are targeted to preferred constituencies, or awarded only in exchange for compliance with a political agenda… in other words, more control.
There are no warranties on the “gifts” of the State, no escape clauses from unsatisfactory contracts, no way to opt out of unwanted programs, and absolutely no refunds.
We should not be interested in studying any more official lists of fellow citizens we’re supposed to envy and hate. We don’t need any more lectures from millionaire politicians on the heartless greed of people who work their tails off for six figures. We don’t want a government that insists it can’t make do with a penny less to sell us reduced expectations for a threadbare future. Every economic forecast from the Obama Administration sounds like a letter of resignation we shouldn’t have to wait until 2012 to accept.
Here’s the deal, Democrats: you don’t get any more billions to spend. You don’t get to pick the next group of winners and losers in the free market. You don’t get to decide who “deserves” a tax cut. You don’t get to hand us the invoice for this bloated government and tell us we need to figure out a way to pay for it. You don’t get to blame deficits on the people who haven’t surrendered enough of their livelihood to you. You do not get to insist every piece of this government’s sprawling machinery is indispensible, while every slice of our lives is negotiable.
We own our lives. We own the State. The future is ours to discover. The solutions that will forever evade the political class are already humming through our eager minds. To be controlled is to spend eternity at each other’s throats, for free people must accept their own inferiority before they can accept domination… and they will always prefer to be told someone else is inferior, and deserves domination. The control of a free society requires strategic infusions of sin and condemnation. It also calls for controlling the information free people use to make their decisions, transforming the command economy into an endless con job. The State survives by managing expectations, while free people compete to exceed them.
No more lies. No more poison. No more imperial judgments. No more despair. No more control.
Cross-posted at www.doczero.org.
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