Relentless Pursuit of Wisdom and Liberty

The weblog companion of, dedicated to pondering, "If Patrick Henry could see us now..."

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Motivations of our elected officials

Neal Boortz agrees with me:
In the 10 years since the Republicans have controlled Congress, the size of the federal government has doubled. President Bush has gone on a spending spree that makes Bill Clinton look like a cheapskate. Unfortunately, politicians of neither party are going to ever truly cut spending. With the Democrats you get tax and spend, with the Republicans you get borrow and spend. Take your pick.
Let's face it. Short of a tax revolt by American citizens, we are NEVER going to see any meaningful cuts in the size and the power of the Imperial Federal Government of the United States. It just flat isn't going to happen. It takes only minutes after that swearing-in ceremony for a new member of the House of Representatives or the Senate to realize that this is a pretty cool gig. The perks, the power, the prestige ... all very hard to give up. Within minutes after that first swearing-in the new politician will have that great epiphany: "Whatever else I do here in Washington, I've just got to keep this job." From that moment on every move, every step, every vote, every phone call, every letter, every interview is conducted in such a way that reelection will be all but ensured.
Friends and family (and the OC Register's Letters Editor) will recognize that last idea from stuff I've written before: no longer does an elected official first ask himself, "What's the right thing to do, the best for my constituents and the common good?" but instead, "What will get me reelected?"

He finishes with a strong prediction:
And just how do you ensure your reelection? You make sure that you collect as much money from the taxpayers as you possibly can, and you spread that money around your home district or state. It doesn't matter how innocuous the spending program. It can be a half-million dollars to restore Lawrence Welk's boyhood home, eleven million to spruce up the King Center in Atlanta, hundreds of thousands of dollars in subsidies for farmers in Williamson County, or a new backstop for the softball field at your local elementary school ... the money must be spent!

I don't care if you're 16 years old, or 66. You will never in your lifetime see a federal budget where less money is spent in one year than in the preceding year. The prime directive for government is to grow itself and increase its power. Nothing is going to change. The American people feed off this government. It absolves them of the necessity for responsibility for their own lives. I don't see that changing in my lifetime, or my daughter's.
I sure do hope he's wrong, for Riley's sake. But I fear he's absolutely right.


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