The artist Edward Langley wrote “What this country needs is more unemployed politicians.” Unfortunately, the nation suffers from more and more EMPLOYED politicians. And not just elected officials. From the local level to the national, politicians who are voted out of office seem to retain their power and privileges by working as some sort of government ‘fixer’ for the private sector or a highly paid ‘consultant’ for a government institution or even at a patronage job conveniently made available by another politician. The pattern is prevalent from the local weed prevention board to the U.S. State Department.
Most people vote for their perceived self interests. A few of us might think we vote for the principles involved, but as often as not we rationalize ourselves into a vote for our own benefit. Voting in a self-interested way is solid citizenship. Prosperity and principle need not be mutually exclusive.
But when voters elect representatives who give them higher wages, special benefits, protected jobs and public employment, the self-interest of the taxpayers is made secondary. The politician creates his own highly rewarded constituency. In turn, the rewarded constituency rewards the politician handsomely. If a significant number of people work for the government and many others do not contribute to it, the nation will fail.
Historically, the only alternative is to steal from your neighbors. The Romans enslaved their neighbors for centuries, providing public largess by war and taxes. The only liberty in the world was reserved for Romans. Freedom should not be the exclusive right of a ruling class and the bureaucrats they reward from the public treasury in return for votes. And U.S. Government employees are compensated at an increasingly high rate. Click here to see the alarming numbers.
Some elected officials and government employees are genuinely public servants. They do vital jobs and are not looking for a free ride. Many of them would like to solve the problem just as much as we would. Click here to read a reasonable solution offered by the Heritage Foundation. Far too many new members of our bloated government justify their jobs by creating new rules and regulations. If you enjoy dark humor, search on your computer for ‘ridiculous government regulations.’ At first all the new rules will make you laugh, but when you think about how serious the problem is, you might actually cry.
The public sector has grown far too much. Even in Sweetgrass County, the number of public employees has grown far faster than the total population. It is a fact that voters ought to consider when they look at the qualifications of local candidates. The nationwide numbers are truly astounding (click here). The total federal work force has doubled since Bill Clinton declared ‘the end of big government.’ Click here for the numbers. How many of those new employees want to grow government? How many want raise taxes? How many think a tradesman or businessman needs his craft or business regulated in every detail? How many think noxious weeds are the concern of government, not landowners? And how do you think all those newly added government employees are going to vote in November?
Public revenue is not for a multiplication of officers and salaries merely to make partisans and for increasing, by every device, the public debt, on the principle of its being a public blessing.