Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Support US Senate Bill 251

For may years, I've been disgusted by the decades-long entitlement mentality that has accompanied the rapid growth of our welfare state. This plague has included the attitude that we can't let failing people and institutions fail. So, we bail out every failure in the nation. These failures include:
• paying generations of women to have children out of wedlock,
• generations of families with no father in the home because his presence reduces the flow of money from the government,
• generations of people who don't work -- and need not because they know Uncle Sam will pay them anyway,
• financial institutions that can't or won't manage assets prudently -- and don't have to because they know Uncle Sam will bail them out, and
• countless corporate welfare programs and subsidies to protect businesses (ie "green" energy and poorly-run major corporations) that can't survive in a free market.
Perhaps the most egregious part of this madness was the recent massive bailouts that dumped trillions of dollars on corporations that can't survive in a free market just to save over-priced union jobs.

For too long, we have demanded that big government fix every little problem that we should be resolving at the individual and family levels. Worse, we allow big government to fix problems that don't even exist and which they have no constitutional authority to address.

Consequently, local, state, and federal bureaucracies have grown to the point where it seems like every employee in the private sector is supporting his own bureaucrat who makes more than he does. For example, had the number of state and local government employees remained proportional to population growth since 1946, nationwide, there would be 12.4 million fewer state and local government employees today! The growth of the federal government is even worse!

The cost of state and local government rose from 6% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in 1946 to 18% today. Much of that growth is a result of federal mandates and regulation. But it's also due to voters and taxpayers who allow and even demand that their local and state governments do more than they should as well as the ugly public union mess that is tearing Wisconsin apart at this moment with many other states to follow. Again, the federal government is even worse. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the federal government took about 15% of GDP in 1950. Today, the federal government hogs nearly 20% of GDP and is projected to take 40% of GDP by 2075!

So, today government consumes 38% of GDP and is projected to continue to grow rapidly. If we, the people, don't stop this runaway government growth, it will soon consume over 60% of the wealth that Americans create. Due to this massive growth in government at all levels, the cost of government is rapidly reaching the level of unsustainability and bankruptcy.

We, the people, own this nation -- not politicians or bureaucrats or political parties or labor unions! We voters and taxpayers must unite to stop this madness. This includes demanding that:
• governments at all levels stop the wild spending
• each level of government conduct a comprehensive audit to identify and purge all laws, regulations, policies, agencies, and judicial rulings which violate the limits on government described by federal and state constitutions and local charters,
• the federal government stop imposing mandates on state and local governments,
• the federal government stop funding state and local projects and agencies in any way,
• local governments stop seeking or accepting funding from the state and federal governments,
• state governments stop seeking or accepting funding of any kind from the federal government,
taxes at every level be cut to the bare level necessary to fund its constitutional duties, and that
• governments at all levels restrict their projects (schools, recreation centers, parks, etc) to what their constituents can afford without "free" money from above.
To force state and local governments to restore some fiscal sanity, Senator David Vitter of Louisiana has introduced S.251 which would prohibit the provision of federal funds to state and local governments for payment of obligations and to prohibit the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from financially assisting State and local governments. I am pleased to learn that my senior senator, Orin Hatch is a cosponsor.

This legislation must be enacted immediately. If not, the taxpayers of sensible states will soon be bailing out irresponsible states such as California and Michigan. The beneficiaries (residents) of the largess of irresponsible local and state governments are the one who need to be suffering the consequences -- not those of us who do a better job of keeping our state and local politicians under control.

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