Here’s the deal, if you are looking to this president, or you were looking to the past president, or you are looking to a future president to make your life better you’re on a fool’s errand. It was the furthest thing from the minds of the Founders and Framers that any individual should have such power and sway.
If you are looking to Congress — this Congress or a past Congress or a future Congress — to make your life better you’re on a fool’s errand. It was maybe the second furthest thing from the minds of the Founders and Framers that any part of the federal government could so greatly impact your life.
There is very little government can do to make your life better. There are quite a few things government can do to make your life worse. (See: All of history.) Most of your problems in life are going to be up to you to solve, to improve or at least to deal with.
For instance, if you want to make more money you’re going to either have to work harder and/or longer, or get training or education to get a better paying job. And if you keep making the same decisions you’ve made all along, and you’re 35 and stuck working at Walmart at minimum wage, there’s nothing the government can or should do for you. You need to change your choices to change your future. If the government steps in to improve your future for you, it inevitably begins a cascade of events that makes many lives worse, including yours eventually.
When governments try to solve poverty by giving poor people a little more money each month, they actually end up keeping them subsistent on government largesse and locked in a hopeless cycle. This has been demonstrated for 50 years now. And the government forcibly takes other people’s money to do it; lose-lose.
The best overall situation is when we can all act freely; free people exchanging goods and services for money freely in markets that are both free and competitive. That simple, relational structure has lifted, literally, billions out of poverty in the past 40 years. Government’s primary role was to stay out of the way, with a small role in making sure there were no monopolies and there were courts to settle contractual disputes.
This is well-documented through our history, but it is not well-known among our population. Schools, universities and the media are the primary culprits in purveying this ignorance. There may be a role for a temporary safety net, but because politicians are politicians it always grows, such as what we have now with enormous entitlements and transfer payments.
But promising more giveaways often garners votes. Some would say buys votes.
So naturally, we have a lot of politicians saying that they can, and will, make things more fair for you, make things better for you and give you this, that and everything you want. Just vote for them. Well not to burst your bubble but there’s nothing they can give you except that they take it from someone else, through taxes now or taxes later to pay off deficit spending now. And eventually they’ll be taking it from you, too, unless you stay at the bottom in poverty, in which case the government will in due time run out of other peoples’ money and then you are lost, too. More lose-lose.
As Margaret Thatcher said: “The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”
The better way, the only proven way, is the collective intelligence of hundreds of millions of Americans, and even billions of people around the world. This is almost infinitely greater than any group of central-planning politicians. (See Russia’s five-year plans, East Germany’s junk new cars, Maoist China’s everything, Venezuela’s oil.)
So when you hear all these politicians promising a plan for this and a plan for that, trillions here and trillions there, remember that the Great Society government plan to end poverty starting in the late 1960s under President Lyndon Johnson resulted in the transfer of $22 trillion from working Americans to poor Americans. It was not charity. It was government force, benefitting politicians along the way, but no one else. The result was that as of today, there is virtually no change in the poverty rate. More welfare programs will have the same net effect until all of the money is gone.
No politician is going to improve your life. That is going to be up to you and your choices. The American dream does not come from government; it relies on a constrained government. It then comes via each American exercising their individual God-given natural rights in liberty.
EDITORS NOTE: This Revolutionary Act column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.