by Jacob G. Hornberger
Within two days of being sworn into office, congressional Republicans are already breaking their promises with respect to out-of-control federal spending and borrowing. In their much-ballyhooed “Pledge to America” they promised to cut $100 billion out of non-defense discretionary spending during their first year in office. House Republican leaders, having now taken control of the House, have just announced that that isn’t going to happen after all.
Did I not tell you this, long before the election? As I have long emphasized, there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between a Democrat and a Republican (or, if you will, a liberal and a conservative). Sure, Republicans use libertarian mantras (i.e., “free enterprise, private property, and limited government”) and rail against excessive federal spending and borrowing, but it’s all fake and false — just a way to get hold of the reins of power, so that they can start enriching themselves at the trough. Isn’t that what they did after they made similar promises with their much ballyhooed “Contract with America” in 1994?
Look at all the brouhaha over Obamacare. House Republicans are making a big deal out of plans to repeal Obamacare. Big deal. What difference would it make? Republicans know that the Senate won’t go along and even if it did, everyone knows that Obama will simply veto it and that the veto won’t be overridden by Congress. It’s all about just making a show — “Look at what we’re doing about excessive spending and borrowing and federal regulation by voting to repeal Obamacare.”
More important, even if Obamacare were to be repealed, the country would still be left with the health-care crisis that is rooted in Medicare and Medicaid. That crisis wouldn’t disappear with the repeal of Obamacare. The mainstream press would be (and already is) screaming to Republicans, “Where is your plan to fix and improve our health care system?” And since Republicans believe in Medicare and Medicaid, they would be left with coming up with some sort of interventionist fix-it reform that would simply be a variation of Obamacare and that would make the situation worse than ever.
The fundamental problem is that Republicans (conservatives), like Democrats (liberals), honestly believe that the legitimate role of the federal government is to take care of people through a welfare state. That’s what Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, education grants, foreign aid, FDIC, bank bailouts, and other welfare-state programs are all about — taking care of people. Republicans are not about to challenge the moral legitimacy of that paradigm or its programs.
Yet, it is these programs — that is, it’s the welfare state itself (and the warfare state) — that is at the root of America’s economic woes. Thus, the only solution is to rid our nation of the welfare-state paradigm itself (and the warfare-state paradigm).
That’s what makes us libertarians so different from conservatives and liberals and other statists. We want to ditch the welfare-warfare paradigm in favor of one based on individual liberty, free markets, and a constitutional republic. That necessarily means repeal and dismantling, not reform and improvement.
Consider the title of this editorial from Tuesday’s Los Angeles Times: “Their Job is to Create Jobs.” That’s the mainstream mindset. It’s the mindset of conservatives, liberals, and other statists. These types of people honestly believe that it’s the job of the federal government to manage the economy, create jobs, and take care of people. That’s the problem.
Do you see how different we libertarians are from statists? We don’t believe that government has any more business managing the economy and creating jobs than it does managing religion and stimulating interest in God. The root of America’s economic woes lies in the fact that the federal government is charged with the power to do such things as manage the economy, create jobs, fight poverty, take care of people, and dominate and control the world.
The solution to America’s economic woes lies in removing the power of the government to manage the economy, create jobs, fight poverty, and police the world. Prosperity lies in the freedom of people to engage in enterprise freely with people all over the world (i.e., without government interference), accumulate unlimited amounts of wealth (i.e., no more federal income tax and IRS), and decide for themselves what to do with their own money (i.e., no more Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, etcetera). The solution to America’s woes lies with libertarian principles. Too bad House Republicans (with the exception of Ron Paul) are still so committed to statism.
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
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