Washington Is Deadlocked. Washington Is Broken. The Government is Dysfunctional. These are some of the headlines I have seen recently. Most were written because the government has been unable to pass some sort of health care legislation.Somehow the notion that if the government is not passing laws, writing regulations, and finding new ways to extract wealth and power from the population, it is not working. Huh?
Where did this notion get started? Whatever happened to “the government that governs best, governs least?” Why does the government have to be the centerpiece of everyone’s existence?
I suspect a lot of things are in play causing this craving for government action. One is the need for news in our 24 hour a day news broadcasts. What could be better than to report on a speech that a politician is scheduled to give. Then broadcast the speech. Then fill another hour with pundits discussing what the speech actually meant. Lazy reporting has combined with 535 gas bag politicians hungry to be on TV. So the media focuses the nations attention on Washington.
Another thing is that as the government grows, more and more people become partially or fully dependant on it. More and more people want and need the government to help them in their daily lives. So more and more people are interested in what the government is up to, especially as it might pertain to them.
There are many other reason people want Washington to “do something.” But it just might be that the country would be better off if Washington did nothing. Whenever Washington does something, it costs the citizens money, freedom, and destroys individualism. Whenever a law is passed, it make some of us criminals, thus breaking down respect for the law.
And Washington solutions seldom work out as planned. The Department of Energy was supposed to get us off dependence on Arab oil. After 40 years, we are more dependent on imported oil than ever, and the technologies that were supposed to be developed with DOE money, such as solar and ethanol, remain pie in the sky. Still the failures of the Energy Department are rewarded every year with ever growing budgets.
The Department of Education has been an equally dismal failure. While spending has gone up exponentially, test scores, graduation rates, and most other measurements of educational success have, at best, remained stagnant. Still spending on the Education Department goes up every year. More bureaucrats are hired every year, more useless regulations that interfere in the local classrooms are written. No Child Left Behind is the latest in a long string of Department of Education’s expensive boondoggles.
And we have Amtrak, the Post Office, Fannie, and Freddie. All poorly run enterprises. We have a military that is so tied up by Washington directed political correctness, diversity, winning hearts and minds, that it can’t kill a few thousand medieval religious fanatics in Afghanistan. We have government sanctioned unions where the members make 50% more money than equivalent employees in the private sector, and employees are almost unfireable. Government regulations of the banking, securities, and mortgage industries gave us the current meltdown.
So why the urgency for the government to take over health care? Where is a record of government successes? Why does anyone blindly think government intervention in any area will improve it. Indeed, keeping the government out of our lives seems to be the more prudent way to go. What we have now in health care may not be perfect, but the government’s record of achievement and improving anything it touches is even more dismal.
Gridlock is good. As long as the government is doing nothing, it is doing no harm.