Recently I read the book Your Money or your Life: Why We Must Abolish the Income Tax by Sheldon Richman (The Future of Freedom Foundation, 1999), which discusses how we have spawned such an expensive and intrusive federal government, and what it does to repress Liberty.  It truly is worth the read in itself. But he wrote the following three paragraphs, beginning at page 93, that I simply had to pass along to you.  Please think about this situation and share your thoughts with others.

“The irony is that even people who claim to support limits on government power play the transfer game.  The late libertarian teacher Robert LeFevre used to ask conservative businessmen to list the government activities they liked. These people, who claimed to favor limited government, would each write a short list of programs.  The lists would differ, though; so when they were consolidated, the result was a government that had its hands in many areas of the economy.  The point of LeFevre’s exercise was that the political process can produce big government even when self-styled limited-government advocates are calling the shots.

“Observe the transfer state in action.  Social Security imposes taxes on working people and hands the money to retired people.  Medicare does almost the same thing, except the money goes to doctors and hospitals.  Agricultural programs take money from taxpayers and consumers and give it to farmers for not growing or for growing particular crops.  Welfare programs give the taxpayers’ money to people who do not work. Subsidies reward well-connected business people with the hard-earned money of the middle class and working class. Foreign aid indirectly subsidizes particular American businesses by giving tax money to foreign governments that will buy American products and services.  Government cultural agencies transfer wealth to artists, musicians, broadcasters, and humanities scholars.  The education bureaucracy subsidizes trendy social experiments on children.  The defense bureaucracy floods contractors with cash for equipment that is not needed and for missions that are improper.  The list goes on and on.

“In each case, people seeking reelection and aspiring to prestigious ‘public’ careers extract wealth from the general population to finance their schemes and benefit those with the time and resources to gain influence.  The textbook model of democratic government responsive to the people is not found in the real world.  Rather, government is a vast auction hall (to use Mencken’s metaphor) in which people enter bids for access to politicians and the vast booty collected by the tax system.”

Thomas Jefferson famously said that we should have a bloody revolution every generation to keep the vested interests at bay.  Well, our Constitution can keep it from being bloody, but how long has it been since we had a revolution?  The 1860s when the Republicans took over from the Whigs?  So maybe it’s long since time! And the Libertarian Party is the only hope in sight!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President, along with
Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President