Congress is prepared to pass yet another trillion dollar pork spending bill. The question arises, “How can they? Did they not hear the Americans vote against Big Government spending in the last election?”
Of course they did. But they also understand that most Americans want particular spending, if not spending in general. “Should government spend less?” Of course, 90 percent of Americans say. “Should government spend less on this particular project or that particular project?” Well, that depends on what district you’re in, and whether you personally like that spending. At that point, the polls are more like 50-50, or 70-30 in favor of the particular spending.
It’s even more than that. The idea of government spending — outside the obvious Constitutional requirement of defense — implies a deeper assumption. The assumption is that each individual is his brother’s keeper. The whole point of Big Government is to enforce — not merely advance, but enforce — the idea that people must take care of one another. You can complain that pork projects like $8 million for a Ted Kennedy memorial, or half a million here for cheese research, and half a million there for syrup subsidies, isn’t exactly high-minded “altruism.” But this outrageous spending is what the ethics of altruism leads to in practice. By “altruism” I don’t mean kindness or benevolence, which is always voluntary and hopefully rational. I’m talking about forced altruism, the idea that man’s primary purpose in life is to live for others, and the only purpose for his existence comes from his service to others. Big Government allows politicians and their supporters to go through the motions of altruism. “Hey, look at me. I’m compassionate. I’m funding all these socially important things. What’s that? You’re against all this spending? What kind of selfish SOB are you?” [Insert guilt reaction here.]
Think of Big Government-enforced altruism as nothing more than enforced religion. Pro-individual rights people are condemned as being ‘too ideological.’ But altruism is an ideology. It’s a belief system, plain and simple. It’s often tied to a supernatural “God,” but even an atheist can be an altruist. To hold an ideology as a personal viewpoint is one thing, but to expect it to have the force of law is another.
We have reached a point in the United States where we have to reassert the principle of separation of church and state. This is a principle that a lot of people still hold in high regard. OK, then. Let’s apply it to the religion of altruism. It will go like this: “If you want to help others, that’s your right. You’re free to raise money and give it to whomever you wish. But the government will no longer do this for you. The government will protect your right to raise the money, voluntarily persuade others to give up some of it, and redistribute it as you wish. But government will no longer be doing the taking and the redistributing.”
Imagine how fast government would shrink if this became the prevailing approach. Memorial for Ted Kennedy? Let his supporters pay for it. Corn, ethanol, syrup subsidies? That’s a matter for private business. Advocates for a ‘greener’ economy? Let them promote that on their own dollar, and voluntarily persuade businesses to change.
This is why spending cuts are more important than tax cuts. The whole purpose of cutting taxes, morally speaking, is to limit government and uphold the right of the individual to keep what he or she earns, and to distribute it, in the marketplace or among charities, as he or she sees fit. To promote tax cuts while refusing to cut government spending — or even to massively increase spending, as Republicans and Democrats in Congress are now seeking to do — is a logical contradiction of unspeakable magnitude.
In Congress, the Democrats don’t matter. They are ideologically and, therefore, fiscally hopeless. More of the country now sees that left unchecked, these liberal socialists will lead us to ultimate ruin. At best, we can look forward to rioting in the streets, as we’re now seeing across the welfare state ruins of Europe, as European governments finally run out of other people’s money.
The important debate now is within the Republican party. Will the Republican party now become the party of spending cuts as much, or even more, than the party of tax cuts? Or will it attempt to cut taxes (or simply maintain them), and then go along with Democrat big spenders to increase the size of government, as it always has done?
Cutting spending matters more than cutting taxes, because cutting government spending means curbing government power. Curbing government power, outside its legitimately mandated areas such as defense, is always a good thing because it frees the people to be more self-responsible, creative, innovative and productive. Cut the spending and tax cuts will come naturally. Argue the moral basis for spending cuts, and you’ll at last have a real debate.