Thursday, August 28, 2008

No Free Lunch

My dad died when I was in my mid teens, but he taught me some valuable life lessons. One of these was that nothing is free. It might not cost you anything, but someone has to pay for it. Many people clamor today for the government to meet all kinds of needs it was never designed to meet, or constitutionally mandated to meet. The government was mandated by the constitution to legislate in the following four areas: Manufacture of Currency, National Security, Interstate Commerce, and Taxation. The remainder of things needing attention are left to the individual States.

The government is too large to manage anything with economy of effort and without huge administrative costs. Its 'one size fits all' approach to programs is a dismal failure. The people who most often use these government programs are the ones who contribute the least to the treasury. No one wants kids in our country to go without breakfast or lunch. Who has the responsibility to see this doesn't happen? First, parents; Second, churches; and lastly States. The Federal Government does not have a right or responsibility to spend tax dollars on this type of assistance. In the interest of brevity let's look at the free breakfast program in schools across our nation. A good breakfast is provided for all children at no cost to them. Sounds good doesn't it? Reality: Most of the food ends up in trash cans. The kids won't eat it and you can't force them to. And, you can't use it for anything else because it is a government program earmarked for one thing and one thing only. So, the food we pay for with our tax dollars goes to waste. The parents of the kids who might be in need of the food have discretionary income from other government programs to buy beer, booze, cigarettes, and junk food. The kids eat the junk food before they arrive at school and are not hungry. If the program was not run by the Federal Government, the food could be made available at the school for kids who were truly hungry and distributed on an as needed basis cutting down on waste and unnecessary expense.

Any time you hear a politician telling you what the Federal Government is going to do for you, please sit down on your wallet immediately. Over taxation of the populace (those who work, contribute, and pay taxes) kills incentive to earn more. The top earners in our country pay the most taxes. If they curb their earning potential to avoid rising taxes, then the revenue that supports the non-productive members dries up. In essence, the Goose that lays the golden egg is killed. When the free market is allowed to work and taxes are kept within reason then more money flows into the treasury. Why are we not able to balance our budget? Because we continue to dip out of our National Treasury for things it was never meant to support. Individuals must be responsible for their own existence. Those who aren't must be allowed to suffer the natural consequences. Those who honestly fall on hard times must be helped by family, friends, churches, and local programs in that order. Life is not fair, but attempts to even the playing field by redistribution of wealth by stealing from the top earners to pay for those who do nothing have never worked.

One is tempted to define man as a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason. - Oscar Wilde