In a recent editorial, entitled Hands off the safety net, the NJ Star-Ledger reached new heights in disingenuousness. The economy is grinding through its fourth recessionary year, job creation is scarce, and record numbers of people are collecting government checks, even as tax receipts plummet. Yet, the editors point to all of this as evidence of the value of big government! “[T]here is a silver lining,” they write with a straight face, “The safety net of government programs held up.”
The safety net is "held up" by the same thing that is holding back the economy - government force. In fact, it is probably the biggest "growth industry" in America today. This brings to mind the emergency meeting of high government officials and businessmen in Atlas Shrugged, to address the dire economic situation:
“What? Again?”, yelled Mr. Weatherby, losing his primness [in response to steel magnate Orren Boyle’s request for another government subsidy]. “…with all of you boys going broke and the tax receipts crashing, where do you expect us to get the money to hand you another subsidy?”
“There are people who aren’t broke,” said Boyle, “You boys [the government] have no excuse for permitting all that need and misery to spread through the country – so long as there are people who aren’t broke.” [Page 535]
The editors write:
The recession’s toll became crystal clear this week with the U.S. Census Bureau’s release of 2010 poverty figures. Some 46.2 million are living in poverty. That’s 15.1 percent of our fellow citizens. For children, the rate is 22 percent. Also, 49.9 million, or 16.3 percent of the population under the age of 65, have no health insurance.
It’s a troubling snapshot of the upheaval American families are experiencing as incomes drop or stagnate and jobs disappear.
Leaving aside the fact that poverty today is not real, but relative, the editors reel off a litany of government programs that ignore where the money to pay for them comes from. They conclude with:
It’s important to keep these facts in mind as we approach an austerity budget. President Obama and the congressional supercommittee tasked with deficit reduction have to protect families on the lowest rung of the economic ladder. Bash big government all you want, especially when it indulges in wasteful spending and earmarks for bridges to nowhere. But this is where government gets it right, big time.
I added my emphasis to make the point. The mentality, and the inverted moral priorities, exemplified in the Atlas Shrugged passages are clearly on display in this editorial. The editors are charter members of the tax-the-people-who-aren’t-broke – “tax the rich” - club. I’ve left the following comments:
Posted on September 15, 2011 at 6:13PM
This is where government gets it right? Let’s take a look at just one program, the big daddy, Social Security. A young person starts out his working life with the forced confiscation of 12.4% of his income – half directly taken from his pay check, and the other half dishonestly camouflaged as the “employer contribution”. He has no choice in the matter: His money is taken at gunpoint. He will pay this tax all of his working life, regardless of other uses he may prefer to use his own money for. If he dies before he reaches the point that he can begin collecting promised benefits, he cannot leave it to his estate for the benefit of his children or others he values. His money is simply gone.
If he makes it to retirement, he has not a dime to show for it. Every dollar taken from him by force was cycled through the hands of the Washington money launderers, and sent into the pockets of others. He has nothing but rescindable financial promises of politicians, many long gone, and payable out of the earnings of other victims. He spent his working life as a wage slave to others, only to be made a parasite on others in old age; a horrible position to force him into. This is right?!? It’s a moral perversion.
…As is the entire “safety net”. At a time when the productive private economy desperately needs relief from big government, the welfare state’s apologists dogmatically cheer it on to greater and greater heights. They perversely measure the success of government by how many people are dependent upon it. And when you worship dependence upon government, you get more and more of it. This is the editors’ idea of what “works”!?!
So now, big government is the champion of its own victims! 80 years after the “safety net” began its cancerous growth, and the government has reached new heights in spending and interference into and control of the economy, poverty is at record levels and the economy is in shambles. The editors apparently can’t see the connection between big government and big poverty.
Like all manifestations of malignant cancer, it must be cut out or it will continue to grow and metastasize until it ultimately kills the patient. How about facing reality? After 80 years, the government has had its chance at running our retirement, our healthcare, and our charity – and it has failed. It’s time to return control to the individuals who earn the money in the first place – to plan their own retirement, manage their own healthcare needs, and choose their own charitable endeavors. How about: Hands off our money and our choice.