Monday, June 29, 2020

Federal Spending Cuts vs. the Divine Right of the Welfare State


A correspondent posted an image on the Thomas Sowell Foundation Facebook page listing 28 federal programs, with the preamble:

A lot of people out there don’t believe the Trump cut the U.S. Pandemic Response Team. For those who might not be aware, he also gutted:

Of the 28 programs supposedly “gutted,” the correspondent queried 

My leftist cousin posted this, and I don't know how much of it is true, and wouldn't know how to check it out. If any of you have specific knowledge of any particular parts, please give me your thoughts.

I posted these comments, slightly edited:

I don’t know about these agencies and I don’t intend to waste time fact-checking these claims. What I do know is that Trump is a big spender who has overseen the biggest deficits in history, prior to COVID-19.

That said, the American Left has never met a domestic spending cut they would view as justified. Any and every government agency is sacrosanct. Any and every dollar that is cut is framed as “gutting,” even if it is merely cutting the growth in the agency’s budget. They are statists. Their view of government is a reincarnation of the “Divine Right of Kings” applied to the regulatory welfare state. The state can do no wrong, except to not tax, redistribute, and regulate enough. Government officials are omniscient and infallible. If a government agency exists, that very fact is unchallengeable, and thus so is its budget. They have no respect for peoples’ wallets or individual liberties. This “leftist cousin” views these alleged Trump “guttings” through the lense of the Divine Right of the Regulatory Welfare State. S-He is trying to frame the issue on that premise. 

I reject that premise outright. If any of these alleged “guttings” are true, I don’t view them as ipso facto wrong. The very fact that such a long list of “Acts” that most people have never heard of exists is alarming from the standpoint of supposedly constitutionally limited government. 

Some questions that need to be answered are; What do these functions spend our tax dollars on? What power do they have to control our lives and property? Are they necessary to secure our rights to life, liberty, and property, as is the government's proper function? If so, how effective are they at it? Are they wasteful, in which case they should be cut, consolidated, or eliminated? Or do they violate rights, in which case they should be gutted and or eliminated? It’s time to put the entire regulatory welfare state under review, and start gutting, gutting, gutting all acts and agencies and bureaucracies that are contrary the the government’s primary purpose, which is to secure and protect individual rights

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