Politics

Solutions Are Not the Answer

Rachel Clark : September 23, 2013 11:41 pm : Politics

“Government is not the solution to our problem,” Ronald Reagan once commented[1], “government is the problem.”

Whether you speak of a weak economy, fewer jobs, a reduced work ethic, struggling businesses, or poorly educated children, any one of those catastrophes is almost guaranteed to find its origination or augmentation in government solutions. Advocates for big government maintain that the infinite cognitive capabilities and never-ceasing wisdom of federal employees is the answer to any type of trouble, even the problems of hungry homeless kittens or energy-inefficient toasters. Demagogues argue that such endeavors are government functions for which the private sector is inadequate. Past events, the current state of our nation, and common sense provide obvious grounds for denying these claims of government omniscience.

One such basic example of failure is the U.S. government’s dedication to combating poverty. Ironically backfiring to the extreme, currently our entitlements system and the enormous bureaucracy assigned to oversee it consumes $2.48 trillion dollars annually, [2] and is the chief source of government budget deficit. In 2010, over 70 percent[3] of federal spending went to 47 different[4] dependence programs. Of every dollar mandatorily given by taxpayers to fund these programs, $0.70 is used for administrative expenses, [5] never even reaching the “entitled” and “poverty-stricken” children, elderly people, and families for whom it is designated.

In contrast, average private charities have only 8-10 percent overhead costs. 5 Not only are private charities accountable to their donors, but there is typically a reciprocal obligation on part of the beneficiary; the focus is not on long-term support, [6] but on temporary emergency help. Rather than become dependent on contributions, recipients of private charity will typically find work for themselves quickly. Trillions of unnecessary dollars, thousands of regulations, and dozens of programs later, the U.S. government’s inconsequential army waging “war on poverty” has lost every battle in every area.

Another floundering area of American life, healthcare, is suffering because the government yet again promised that they could fly, crush steel with bare fists, and provide free healthcare for everyone with their awe-inspiring government superpowers. The pending onset of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) promises U.S. healthcare deterioration; already the government healthcare solutions Medicaid and Medicare have well proved their horrendous shortcomings.  On average the programs pay only 56 percent of the market rate for medical procedures, [7] forcing many doctors to stop accepting those programs. It leaves recipients of the programs without sufficient care, doctors facing red ink, and taxpayers with a throbbing pain in the wallet. Obamacare only augments this problem by adding 18 million[8] more people to Medicaid.                The government has gotten its blank check for socialized medicine, and it intends to use it – just as France, China, England, and Canada have. In socialized anything, profit is absent, work motives are lacking, and businesses and new technology are nonexistent. In contrast, private researchers in a free market have a profit and work motive. Without unnecessary government requirements, more doctors are willing to try new treatments and conduct more research, and all patients will receive better care. As exemplified by France, China, England, and Canada, [9] government cannot manage healthcare successfully.

Much talk circulated throughout the 2012 elections about creating jobs and stimulating the economy, and strangely, the context was often for the government to single-handedly rescue the helpless economy from its disastrous fate. However wonderful that scenario of complete protection may be, it remains impossible; yet Keynesian economics teaches that when government borrows money, and then somehow uses that money to increase the demand for jobs or certain products, [10] it will “jumpstart” the economy. This faulty reasoning was applied, unsuccessfully, in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). [11] When the bill became law in February 2009, the United States had an unhealthy 12.5 million unemployed workers, at the stagnant unemployment rate of 8.1 percent. After over 75 percent of ARRA’s allotted funds were spent in October 2011, [12] 1.4 million more people than before were unemployed, reaching 9 percent unemployment. Obviously the best way for the government to meliorate businesses is to leave them alone; the government cannot prime the economic pump. An accomplishment that only a free market can well achieve, a thriving economy remains the distinguished trademark of a free people operating in a free market.

In his book “No, They Can’t”, John Stossel explains, “As long as Americans –and perhaps all human brains – leap to the intuitive yet false conclusion that governments solve problems, we’re in big trouble. That’s why we keep increasing government power: it seems like the obvious solution. Yet such ‘solutions’ inevitably generate more problems for government to ‘solve’.” [13]

 

Legislative solutions claiming to protect workers, enforce non-discrimination initiatives, stimulate the economy, or end poverty were created with sincere reassurances that success would result. However, such interference has never bode well for the private sector. When in any area the poisonous federal bureaucracy rears its ugly head, seeking whom it may devour, business owners and investors all flee to the regulation relief provided by diminished activity, hindered transactions, and reduced hiring. As demonstrated by America in the past, a free nation constitutes a formula for success that trumps the nonexistent benefit of despotic government solutions. If supporters of big government again chant their simplistic slogan, saying, “Yes we can,” it would surely befit the situation to explain, “No, they can’t.”

 

The next time government notices a problem and vows to do something in the form of another “solution”, remember: government “solutions” are not the answer.

 

 

 

 

 


 



[1] Reagan, Ronald. “Inaugural Address.” www.reaganfoundation.org. Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, n.d. Web.

 

[2] Goff, Emily, Romina Boccia, and John Fleming. “Federal Budget in Pictures.” The Heritage Foundation, 2012. Web.

 

[3] Tyrell, Patrick. “Dependence on Government at All Time High.” Heritage.org. The Heritage Foundation, 8th Feb. 2012. Web

 

[4] Goff, Emily, Romina Boccia, and John Fleming. “Federal Budget in Pictures.” The Heritage Foundation, 2012. Web.

 

[5] Edwards, James Rolph. “The Costs of Public Income Redistribution and Private Charity.” Journal of Libertarian Studies 21.2 (2007). Summer 2007. Web

 

[6] Tanner, Michael, and Tad Dehaven. “TANF and Federal Welfare.” Downsizing the Federal Government. The Cato Institute. Web.

 

[7] The Heritage Foundation. The Impact of Obamacare. Washington, D.C.: Heritage Foundation, 2011. Print.

[8] The Heritage Foundation. The Impact of Obamacare. Washington, D.C.: Heritage Foundation, 2011. Print.

 

[9] Moffit, Robert E., Philippe Maniere, David G. Green, Paul Belien, Johan Hjertquist, and Friedrich Beyer. “Perspectives on the European Health Care Systems: Some Lessons for America.” Lecture.

 

[10] Keynesian Economics.” Investopedia â  Educating the World about Finance. Investopedia. Web. 25 Jan. 2013.

 

[11] United States. Cong. Appropriations and Budget Committee. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. 111th Cong., 1st sess. Cong H.R. 1. Web.

 

[12] “Employment Situation Summary.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Oct. 2011 & February 2011. Web. Jan. 2013.

 

[13] Stossel, John. No, They Can’t: Why Government Fails–but Individuals Succeed. New York: Threshold Editions, 2012. Print.

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