Elizabeth Warren and the Crisis in Government Services

Lefties are going ga-ga (the uppercase of whom, by the way, is also a leftie) over a quote by one Elizabeth Warren who’s running for Senate in Mass., in which she says something along the lines that job creators should pay more taxes because of the of the government services provided to them like roads, police, education, etc.

The irony is that we’re getting less of those essential government services because of people like Elizabeth Warren!

She and her brethren on the left are fueling the biggest crisis in government: the the crowding out of things like law enforcement, fire protection, transportation infrastructure, education, etc. by wealth redistribution. For the lowdown, click here.

Another irony: her comments apply to anarchists (those who don’t want any government services). And where can you find marauding bands of people who call themselves anarchists? Try any typical anti-globalization, anti-capitalism, or other leftie rally.

California’s Vicious Circle Continues

California recently was ordered to free 55,000 prisoners because it can’t afford to hold them. It’s yet another manifestation of essential government services getting crowded out by wealth redistribution.

As pointed out below (under the Jan. 24, 2010 entry), in the past decade California state pension costs skyrocketed 2,000 percent. Many union workers can retire at age 50, with 90 percent of their pay, for life. 15,000 of them get more than $100,000 per year. That includes life guards.

In 2009, at least $3 billion was diverted from other government services to pension costs.

As Walter Russell Mead writes, “California’s public unions are sucking the state dry — like a parasite killing its host.” He quotes the “great Louisiana prophet of the blue social model Huey Long: ‘If you aren’t getting something for nothing, you’re not getting your fair share.'”

That so sums up what those on the left stand for these days. They’re always talking about getting their “fair share”. Most of the time, they mean getting it for nothing. (Typical is when some interest group gets free government benefits, and some other interest group screams that they should be getting the same or similar benefits in order to get their “fair share”.)

As explained here, California is caught in a vicious circle. “Constituencies sympathetic to businesses are leaving California in increasing numbers. Meanwhile the state’s generous social welfare programs pull in lower-income people – both from the within and outside the United States – who typically vote against the interests of businesses. With fewer pro-business and more anti-business voters (i.e. fewer Republicans and more Democrats), the result is even more regulations and higher taxes, driving even more businesses out, and so on.”

“Californians have slipped from having the 3rd highest per capita income in the country in 1959, to the 13th highest now. What’s their solution to reverse the trend? Measures to make the state business-friendly again? No. Most of the state’s elected representatives are trying to remedy the situation with more tax increases; part of the vicious circle.”

“So businesses will flee the state even faster. Fewer businesses will want to move there. Entrepreneurs won’t want to set up shop there.”

And its status as a failed state will be driven home even further.

Demagogue Alert

Yet another one where the writer impugns the character of those with whom he disagrees, calling them “stoney hearted” and having “open contempt” for “compassion or tolerance or fundamental fairness”.

My comment to the article, by a Mr. Neal Gabler, follows:

It’s a total myth that conservatives want to end or change programs that would harm the downtrodden. Time and again it’s been demonstrated that liberal programs hurt the poor, from the public housing fiascos, to welfare dependency that even Daniel Patrick Moynahan and Bill Clinton recognized were exacerbating poverty, to the Democrat-controlled inner cities, to Social Security and Medicare, where payroll taxes on the working poor are literally transferred to middle class and rich retirees.

Two-thirds of federal tax money is redistributed, and most of that money is redistributed to the middle class, upper middle class, and rich. Something is tragically wrong with the system today, and it’s surprising that liberals don’t recognize it and work to reform it.

Many people have a welfare horror story – where they see welfare money going to people who don’t need it, whether it be SSI, SSDI, unemployment compensation, or Section 8 housing. Regarding the latter, a real tragedy is where immigrant retirees are living with their upper-middle-class children, and find that they’re eligible for Section 8 housing and other welfare programs. They crowd the Section 8 housing waiting lists, the lists close to new applicants, and the ones left out in the cold are the real poor, who often have to live on the streets. It’s one of the many examples of the tragedy of American liberalism.

Crowding Out Good Government

“The White House believe’s NASA’s current projects are too expensive…”, So the Obama administration “wants to kill” the traditional rocket and spacecraft program. (From front-page article in today’s WSJ).

Yep, it’s happening. The good things the government does are getting crowded out by wealth redistribution. They include space exploration, law enforcement, road and bridges, national parks, environmental protection, education, defense, and foreign affairs. A wealthy country like ours normally could easily afford all of those traditional government functions. But things are abnormal.

A whopping two-thirds our tax money is simply redistributed to other people, rather than spent on those government functions. With health care deform and the ever-expanding entitlement programs, probably three-quarters of our tax money will go toward redistribution within a decade or two, leaving even less for regular government functions.

While the White House believes the measly $20 billion or so a year that we spend on NASA is “too expensive”, it doesn’t believe that the two-trillion or so a year that we spend on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, soon-to-be Obamacare, and an assortment of other redistribution programs is too expensive. That’s because this president and his minions believe the main function of government should be to transfer wealth, rather than the normal functions (i.e. providing services that the private sector can’t provide).

For more on this topic, click here, here or here.