Thursday, March 24, 2011

More on Government

Is the government not owning everything you've accumulated, not taking everything you've made, creating wealth? This is actually a philosophical question that Hayek and Von Mises have addressed far better than I can now. I suggest you go to for detailed arguments. My argument is that Jefferson and the Founders of this country said in the Declaration of Independence that we have certain inalienable rights, namely life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Do you know that the pursuit of happiness refers to property rights? That's what he meant as far as I've learned.

What you are arguing is that because government allows you to keep what you've worked for, what you've earned--it is the same as government creating that wealth. If so, then Muammar Gaddafi owns Libya and neither we, nor its citizens, have a right to complain. We have to be grateful for whatever government allows us, because government owns and allows everything, we have no basic rights, nothing. Furthermore, since government owns and allows everything, it can take away our livelihoods, and that we should be grateful that we are allowed to even live, since government grants all powers.

The American system, a controversial system when created for sure, says different. All the powers of government come from the people and have to be given by the people to government. Government has no rights, has no powers, can't do anything without the consent of the people through Constitutional amendment. Property rights are a basic human right. So is freedom, so is liberty. Because government in the United States doesn't oppress me and take away what I've built, what I've created, what I've made, is not the same as government creating all those things!

The Public Sector Should Not Be Allowed To Unionize

As I've said before, government is the ultimate power and that power can be used to enrich those who control government. Over the past decade, public sector unions have learned how to play that game. They make members pay dues which are then used to elect representatives that are favorable to the unions and will give them raises and benefits regardless if it is out-of-line with the private sector and regardless if it is a good value to taxpayers. So far, most of these representatives have been Democrats. When the benefits and wages become too much for the current budget to bear, taxpayers are told that taxes must increase.

I've always said that public sector employees must not be allowed to unionize. I have no problem with private sector unions, but public sector unions have disparate power that is unfair to those who pay for them, namely taxpayers.

First, unions can game the system by funding representatives that will do their bidding and keep on giving public sector unions ridiculous raises and benefits.

Secondly, unlike private sector CEOs or management, politicians are loath to rock the boat. They rather give generous and unsustainable rewards that will destroy the system in the future rather than take a stand, which could cost them their political jobs. Kick it down the road.

Finally, corporations which have given over-generous benefits and no longer offer a good value to customers can go out of business. I can decide not to buy a Ford or GM made car because it is just too expensive for the value it provides. I am forced to pay taxes.

Those are just some of the reasons why FDR, an union supporter, thought that unions should not be allowed in the public sector. Until Carter, and the 1980's with State governments, public sector employees were not allowed to unionize.

Oh, I forgot to add that I have options with the private sector. I can change banks, I can go to another fast food outlet, I can even decide to switch phone carriers if I think the prices, thanks to benefits given to union members, are out-of-line with the value I receive. I do not have the option with police, fire, and other government services, there is no alternative to government!

Wealth a Government Creation?

Wealth is not created by government, otherwise command economies would be the richest on the planet rather than the opposite. People create wealth, and yes, government can prevent that. But to say that non-interference from government is the same as government creating wealth is like saying that freedom is a government given privilege rather than an inalienable human right.

The last time I checked, the top 10% of wage earners pay over 70% of income taxes, if that's not progressive, I don't know what is. Over 40% of tax filers do not pay a single dime in income taxes. The author needs to address these facts.

Government is the most powerful of all institutions. It can be used for good, but it can also be used to confiscate and enrich those in the government sector, namely bureaucrats and public sector unions. I can decide not to do business with an unfair and predatory corporation like Bank of America or even my cable company. I cannot decide not to pay taxes and forgo government, even if I think the services rendered are a ripoff for what I am paying. Bad corporations which do not provide a good value for the services they offer can go out of business, government will just raise taxes and make people pay for services offered at poor value without reform. Thus government is the ultimate organization we must be wary of. And as we watch events unfolding in the Middle East, we are reminded of what government can do--take your money, freedom, and even life--something no corporation has the power to do.