Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The proper role of government and whatever benefits it provides

Today, I was challenged by a reader that I benefit from many of the federal programs I oppose and that I therefore am a hypocrite. I hereby affirm that whatever total benefit I am presumed to gain from government falls far short of what I pay in taxes -- like most Americans. But, that isn't the point.

As I have often said, I oppose taxes for any purpose except to fund proper roles of government -- protection of life, liberty, and property. Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution lists federal authorities that meet those roles. The Tenth Amendment prohibits the central government from doing anything else.

Contrary to what the reader seems to believe, I do not seek nor personally benefit from government grants of any kind. I oppose the existence of any kind of special-interest grants -- even for causes I support, but for which I reject a government role -- because they not authorized by the US Constitution and they are clearly prohibited by the 10th Amendment.

I oppose federal ownership or management of land -- even for my personal recreation -- except as authorized in Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution.

I oppose the existence of most federal agencies because they not authorized by the US Constitution and they are clearly prohibited by the 10th Amendment.

It may be that some of my interests (ie roads, police, military, etc.) are supported through taxes. It is just as true that many things I oppose also are supported through taxes -- even things I find morally offensive. The bottom line about taxes as they currently are imposed and spent is that they are a means by which government manipulates the people in response to demands by special interest groups.

If taxes were scaled back to the minimum necessary to accomplish only the proper roles of government there would be no need for any federal personal or corporate tax. We all would have a lot more money in our pockets to pursue our own interests. I'm just arrogant enough to believe that I can spend the money I earn more wisely than can any politician or bureaucrat.
"Would you be willing to give up your favorite federal program if it meant never having to pay the income tax again?" — Harry Browne
There are far too many in in the nation, and even here in our little town who say they want smaller government -- except for their personal pet government program (dog parks, one of my critic's favorite government programs, for example). Unlike them, I seek to be consistent and I am willing to give up my "favorite federal program". Is my critic? Not likely.

Most of what is currently done by government is better done by self, family, neighbors, private enterprise, charity, and volunteer service (I volunteer in five organizations). The Founders knew that. That is why they put strict restrictions on government. We ignore their inspired wisdom at great expense.

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