Part I: The Election of 2016
The Presidential Campaign 2016
I had hoped that 2016 would be the year when the voting public would be so tired of Washington DC shenanigans that something big might happen. I thought that maybe Liberty would come to the forefront and the country might be guided by Libertarian principles. Nay, it is pretty much business as usual with Donald Trump thrown into the mix. Maybe some principled people have run for the Republican nomination for President while espousing Liberty (Cruz. Rubio, Paul, Carson). This would be goodness as the population needs to go back to founding principles. But the evidence is thin that this will happen.
The big bugaboo in American politics is democracy. And it dominates politics. Politics has become a big game where two sides are fighting for supremacy. It’s like rival football teams. Fans are totally committed to their side winning but with no valid reasons. Yaah, go State. But are there real differences between the two schools? Are they celebrating the Nobel prize in biology? No, they are blindly supporting “their” school. That’s what democracy has become. People care more about their “party” than they do about which party principles will aid the country.
Democracy has become a philosophy of the greatest good for the greatest number of people. It is the collectivist view. It seems like a reasonable approach until one studies what happens to the minority, to the losers. In a football game, we all realize it is just a game and we go home with an attitude of “wait til next year”. But when people’s lives are concerned, the losers may always lose because the democratic majority stacked the cards against the losers. Or shady characters used money to tilt the game in their favor.
There is a big issue of the role played by the Republican establishment in the primaries. They want their person to be nominated. Why? Because even though these establishment types may say they want small government, they really want the spoils that come from winning the Presidency. They, just like the Democrats, know that winning means more money in the party coffers and a thus a better chance of winning the next election. By helping out the fat cats with some favorable deal, the party elite know they will get big political contributions.
When some political deal gives one side favorable treatment, the rest of us get screwed. It might be higher prices or lack of competition to get a broader product offering. It might be government control of drugs that keep new solutions off the market. We all lose.
Democracy, despite all the favorable kudos we learn in school, is a detriment to a big portion of the population. And that is what our political system is all about. That’s what Congress does all the time. It is making special deals for one segment of the population or another. Each of these special deals is inefficient. They cost the economy with the bureaucracy associated with the legislation on top of the inefficiency of special interests deals in the first place.
The big picture look at the economy is really quite simple, despite all the intricacies that are required to make a product. For a great read, try the piece call “I Pencil”. Indeed, there are many steps to a production process and free enterprise motivates the maker to be as efficient as possible in every step of the process. But there is one step the maker cannot control. And that is government involvement in the enterprise. Whether it is taxes or regulation, the builder of the product has to pay the piper regardless whether it saves money or not or improves the product or not. In most cases, it does not.
But pundits seldom blame the government for a sluggish economy. Government is just a fact of life; it is goodness, they say. And yet government consumes upwards of 50% of the activity in many places. We postulate and forecast what the future will bring in the economy but we never take into account the drag imposed by government regulations and taxes. Politicians would have you believe that they are responsible for the economy, at least when it is good and they blame it on something else when it is not so good, often their predecessor some 8 or more years later. The economy comes about by trade. Some will say it is manufacturing that leads an economy but one can manufacture until the cows come home but if nobody buys the product, the manufacturing has been a waste. Very little of what we need to survive today comes solely from our own hands. Most of it is a cooperative venture among groups of people who voluntarily decide to work together to provide products to the masses. Government is not a key factor in that process. At best, government keeps law and order. That is where the concept of liberty enters the picture.
(Part II: Back To Basics will appear tomorrow)
- MAY’S SUGGESTED READING
Several new articles today. My suggested readings are found here.