Codex Per·Fidem - On the True Evil of Government Aid

On the True Evil of Government Aid

It is unfortunate that conservatives are often seen as mean because they do not support government hand outs. They are often called greedy rich guys who would rather spend their money on yachts than taxes for the poor. Of course, this is not true, wealthy conservatives strongly believe in private charity and are perhaps the most generous people any of us would have the pleasure to meet. There are very good reasons why conservatives, rich and poor (and yes there are poor Conservatives), oppose excessive government aid.

In the 2000 Presidential campaign, Al Gore proposed a credit granted to those who bought a fuel-efficient car. We already have several tax credits available to families, college students, et cetera. Conservatives opposed this tax credit idea. Many people couldn’t figure out why. Conservatives are supposed to support lower taxes, and this tax credit would lower taxes. The problem we Conservatives had, and still have, is that the plan only lowers taxes for a certain class of citizens, those who do what the government wants them to do. Liberals were using tax credits to encourage certain behaviors. Now, many of these behaviors, like going to college, should be encouraged. But a tax credit is a step in a sinister direction. Government uses tax credits to create a favored class of citizens. Those who did not do what the government wanted them to do would bear the full weight of an already excessive tax burden. Whether this was the intention or not, it was certainly the result: government would create an overwhelming tax burden, and then offer relief from that burden to citizens who live by government’s commands. In the process, those who were left out ended up paying an even larger portion of the burden to pick up the slack of the favored class. While tax credits sound nice at first, when you look deeply at it you discover that it is really just an opportunity for the government to control the lives of free citizens.

What is really sinister is that we as free American citizens are not too far from being taxed so much that we need government help just to survive. We often hear Liberals praising certain European countries for their all-inclusive government aid. What these Liberals often forget is that the poor citizens of these countries have to pay more than 50% of their income in taxes, and more than $10 a gallon for gas. I don’t know about you, but if the government took half of my paycheck from me and I still had to pay $10 for a gallon of gas, then I would need the government to pay for everything, I couldn’t afford it on my own.

The big problem with government aid is that is causes an increase in taxes. Government is the only entity that has the power to tax us, and tax us to the point that we would do anything for relief. And government is always ready to provide that relief. It is by giving us relief from the burden it created that government attempts to control us. Let’s remember that we live in a capitalist society, and for very good reasons. What is capital? It is property used to create more property. Capital is usually associated with industry. But private citizens also own capital, such as a car used to find a better job in another town, or savings used to supplement lost income so a worker isn't desperate for a new job and has the luxury of being more picky in his job search. Property is essential. Property is used to maintain a person's livelihood. A person who is taxed too much is not allowed to create or keep his property, and therefore is not allowed to maintain his livelihood. Such a person is not free. The ability to freely create and keep wealth is essential to freedom.

Another issue that comes up periodically is health care. Every few years, the American people are subjected to the cries of a young mother who has no health insurance, or retirees who must choose between dog food and medicine, unable to afford both. These stories are offered as evidence that the government must do something to ease this pain. The solution, we are told, is government-financed health care. In our current system, many people receive health insurance through their employers. Employers offer this insurance at a reduced cost (and sometimes even free) because of competition. In a good economy with a low unemployment rate, companies are not only in competition for customers, but they are also in competition for employees. If a company wants to hire and keep good employees, then it must offer good benefits. Higher pay, more vacation time, and health insurance are some of the more popular benefits. The company I work for offers this, along with 401k, legal and crisis counseling, and what is called appointment time which can be used instead of sick time if an employee needs to take time off of work for family matters. This is in addition to FMLA.

Recently, our company moved the smoker’s area (another benefit) from the front of the building to the back. The former smoker’s area was a very nice, screened-in patio with ceiling fans to keep everyone cool in the 100-degree heat of Texas summers. The new smoker’s area is little more than a carport with picnic tables, variously called the “smoke shack,” “butt hut,” or my favorite, “cancer cabana.” Of course, many smokers were upset by this change. I explained to them that since the company is paying our health costs, it is in their best interest to make sure we stay healthy. Therefore, it helps the company’s bottom line to make it as difficult and inconvenient as possible for employees to smoke. The same reasoning could be applied to any kind of government health care. It is easy to imagine a day when Congress passes a law criminalizing a common but unhealthy behavior (such as smoking) and using health care cost savings to justify this encroachment on personal freedom.

Government help, while well intentioned, always leads to government control and censorship. The more help citizens receive from the government, the more government looks like a parent, or worse, a pet owner. My cat looks to me for protection, shelter, and food. God help us if we begin to look to the government for the same things. At that point, our freedom will have been destroyed.

When there is a problem in our world, we often look to the government to fix it. We say something like, “Why doesn’t the government do something about this?” Or, “Shouldn’t there be a government warning on this?” And why shouldn’t we? We’ve been raised with the idea that whenever you have a problem, the government will be there to help. The government will look out for you. However, every time we look to the government we give up a portion of our freedom. If we really want to be free, and not just secure, we should demand that government get out of the way and let us look out for ourselves.


© Copyright 2005, Jason E. Heath
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