The media insists on characterizing statements about dependency on
government handouts as controversial, but in truth such statements are
absolutely correct. It's not that nearly half of Americans are dependent on
government; it's actually more than half. If one includes not just people on food stamps and welfare,
but also seniors on Medicare, Social Security and people employed by the
government directly, the number is more like 165 million out of 308 million,
which is 53%.
Some argue that Social Security and Medicare benefits are a right
because people pay into these programs their whole lives, or that we need a
government safety net in place for people who fall on hard times. However,
this all becomes a moot point when the funds people depend on become
worthless due to government default or rampant inflation.
This is less an
issue of dignity or dependence on government, and more about the deceitfulness of government promises.
The Fed recently announced that it plans to keep interest rates near
zero and keep buying near worthless assets from banks indefinitely. This
enables Congress to spend without having to take deficits or the debt
seriously and there is every indication they intend to spend with impunity
until the system collapses. There are no brakes on the runaway train. The
federal debt ceiling law does nothing to limit spending. The ceiling will
have to be raised yet again perhaps before the year is out. What is happening
in Greece with austerity measures and riots in the street will happen here
within a decade according to some realistic estimates if we do not find some
way to fiscally restrain our government.
There is little point in a debate about being entitled to healthcare
or food or shelter from fellow taxpayers if the whole system has collapsed.
And, with the way our politicians have taken over and mismanaged vast amounts of
resources, collapse seems almost unavoidable. Yet the number
of Americans who have significant dependency on government is dangerously
high, and I honestly fear for them.
Worse, corporate welfare is also at an
all-time high with no signs of diminishing. Though it is hard to
quantify, Tad Dehaven at Cato has
estimated that the government spends nearly twice as much on corporate
welfare than on social welfare. Both parties are equally guilty. More and
more, the business sector is learning to
rely on taxpayer largesse in one form or another. They
used to be solely concerned with providing a better product to the consumer
at a better price. Now, success on Wall Street depends entirely too much on
having the best lobbyists on K Street. If one includes the employees of
"private" businesses who depend on
government contracts, grants or bailouts, there are even more people
dependent on government in some way.
Government does not create resources when it taxes people and prints
money; it merely redistributes the wealth, while supporting a massive,
wasteful bureaucracy along the way. Government is a giant, blood-sucking
parasite on our otherwise healthy economy. For too long we have entrusted too
much economic power and influence to irresponsible politicians in Washington.
It's the chaos that ensues after they run the system into the ground that
will be so painful for so many people. But realigning our economy with the
free market and away from government mandates and handouts must happen in
order for it to thrive again.
The answer is not to keep asking government to do more. The answer is
to extricate our economy and
ourselves from the grasp of Washington DC as much as possible now, before our
dependency becomes our downfall.