George Bernard Shaw famously said, “The government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.” The reality is that when we support any candidate, or their pet project, we mistakenly believe that we have somehow become the more fortunate “Paul.”
The problem is that, once Peter has nothing left, only Paul remains to be consumed. Eventually we all become the victim.
The blame isn’t with our puppet politicians or even the special interest groups pulling their strings. The trouble is believing one party is better than the next. They are all equally destructive.
Regardless of political flavor, sending tax dollars to Washington, D.C., or approving tax increases locally, guarantees that the politicians and the well connected win and the majority of us lose. There is a solution to the government’s parasitic existence.
We must forget political labels, party affiliations and learn to “Just Say No.” We need to turn away any candidate who promises solutions using other people’s money. We must rely on ourselves and the markets to deliver what is needed.
The disastrous result of continued government dependency can be seen all around us. Independence may be a radical concept to those indoctrinated into believing only with government’s assistance can we function. This reliance on elected officials has not always been the norm.
President Grover Cleveland vetoed relief aide of $10,000 for a natural disaster in Texas. His opinion was, “Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character.”
Our political elite survive on the myth that only through their efforts can important needs be met. It’s a lie.
Texas is one step closer to a $10 billion, high-speed bullet train between Dallas and Houston that will require zero tax support or federal subsidies. That would be a perfect demonstration that anything society wants, whether essential or not, can be handled privately.
Our government has moved from merely bloated, to morbidly obese. The only remedy is to force efficiency through starvation. We must “Just Say No” to anything that moves dollars out of your pocket and into the control of theirs.
This hard reality hasn’t changed in the last half century. It remains the same as when Ronald Reagan said in 1964: “No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size, government programs once launched never go out of existence. A government agency is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth.”
And yet, even when Reagan became president, he failed to reduce federal spending. This “no” approach won’t change things overnight. It’ll be ignored at first, and then aggressively fought by our professional politicians, their cronies and anyone on the dole. However, each dollar kept from them loosens their grasp of power and increases your liberty.
The choice can no longer be left to our politicians. It is ours to demand. The last 75 years we’ve witnessed nearly half of our population become dependent on federal handouts of one sort or another.
It’s time to just say no and reclaim the “sturdiness of character” upon which our nation was built.
G. Joseph McLiney of Kansas City runs a private investment firm specializing in public finance. To reach him, send email to email@example.com.