Jeff Neal for C.U.R.E. - Certain Unalienable Rights Endowment

Government as Benefactor

In Opinion on January 26, 2015 at 1:20 pm

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 1.09.31 PM“There will always be ideological disagreements about tax rates and regulations and the role of unions and the structure of health insurance and blah blah blah. But as we keep fighting those interminable fights, the economic resurgence we’re experiencing right now is a moment we shouldn’t waste. If local, state and national politicians can get together to make progress on basic infrastructure, and soon — which ought to be the most nonpartisan thing imaginable — the confident, ambitious, creative people of this country will do the rest. Let ’em loose.”

— Rachel Maddow, Washington Post, January 26, 2015

That’s her formula for economic prosperity. She espouses the-government-is-here-to-help approach to planning, monitoring and regulating your life. Build more infrastructure and, voila, the rest takes care of itself! All Thank You notes should be addressed to Big Brother, ℅ Mr. Public Servant.

What does she – and the left – think ‘infrastructure’ is, a magic potion that renders a category of spending money immune from economic reality because the state ordered it done? “If WE build it, they will succeed” seemingly is the extent of their analysis.

No. Infrastructure IS economic progress, not its precursor. Every thing is the product of the “confident, ambitious, creative people” whom she instead chooses to relegate to mere users, even takers of government beneficence. Sounds a lot like “You didn’t build that!”

Infrastructure, Rachel, is NOT government’s gift to free men and women. It is the product of free men that enables the next acts of free men. In other words, pencils, port-a-potties, insulated socks, stethoscopes, Chevrolet Impalas and styrofoam coffee cups are as much ‘infrastructure’ as are the Golden Gate or the Brooklyn Bridge and Dulles International Airport.

The underlying, unspoken theme of Ms. Maddow’s piece is the fairness, nay necessity of increasing taxes “on the rich” in order to pay for an even bigger, infrastructure-building government. Sounds innocuous, no? However, she and her ilk explicitly link individual success with its achievers’ imaginary and inescapable debt to society – “YOU’RE rich cuz WE let you get there, so [hands up and] give back!” is their rallying cry against the men and women who make their very lives possible, who make it feasible for them to never once muddy the lace on their pantaloons and yet live a life of luxury unimaginable to their grandfathers. Federal Express, MicroSoft and Koch Industries are mere money-making machines that are taken as givens in their minds, seemingly and inevitably conjured out of thin air, the owners and creators of which deemed lucky lottery winners..

In ignorance of what makes their life bearably comfortable, they have concluded that only an enormous government can pull off something like the space station or the fire department, failing to see the enormity of the givens (see above) that make those things possible or necessary in the first place. They ignore that NOTHING happens without the efforts of every individual participant in the process, each of whom acts in accordance with his own self interest, which is without exception the desire to put food on the table, clothes on his back and shelter over his head, not so that some future driver might avail himself of the privilege of driving over a well-constructed bridge. We drive over the bridges to get to SOMETHING on the other side, not for the view. Our desire and intent to do so necessitates the bridge. The bridge or road or airport are not precursors; they, like the pencil and coffee cups, are of the essence of economic activity.

In short, the government is not your sugar daddy, even if Rachel thinks it is.

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