Sunday, January 18, 2009

America's No. 1 growth industry

(BUMPED; UPDATES BELOW) Somewhere around here in one of my bookshelves, I've got a copy of Stephen Moore's 1995 classic, Government: America's No. 1 Growth Industry: How the Relentless Growth of Government Is Impoverishing America, the title of which speaks a truth that is now truer than ever.

That title recurs to memory because of a few items Instapundit linked this weekend. Item No. 1:
While the private sector was shedding millions of jobs in 2008 and government budgets were collapsing under the weight of waste, fraud and carved-in-stone personnel costs, the public sector had another banner year. Governments at all levels hired 164,100 new employees and were largely responsible for the addition of a further 96,600 jobs in education and 371,600 in health care. Now President-elect Obama wants to add 600,000 to the bloated federal payroll. . . .
Lip service by public officials about fiscal austerity notwithstanding, governments and their public-employee unions seem to be approaching 2009 as if the recession is none of their concern.
Item No. 2:
After the 2000 Census, the richest county in America was Douglas County, Colorado. By 2007, Douglas County had fallen to sixth. The new top three are now Loudon County, Virginia; Fairfax County, Virginia; and Howard County, Maryland. All three are suburbs or exurbs of Washington, D.C. In 2000, 14 of the 100 richest counties were in the Washington, D.C., area. In 2007, it was nine of the richest 20.
Government growth is parasitical, like a tick growing fat with the blood sucked from its host. The private sector is the only place that real wealth-creation occurs. Government's collection and expenditure of revenue can only redistribute wealth, not create it.
The necessary result, then, of the unequal fiscal action of the government is, to divide the community into two great classes; one consisting of those who, in reality, pay the taxes, and, of course, bear exclusively the burthen of supporting the government; and the other, of those who are the recipients of their proceeds, through disbursements, and who are, in fact, supported by the government; or, in fewer words, to divide it into tax-payers and tax-consumers.
The great failure of the Bush administration and of the Republican congressional leadership was their failure to understand and act on this principle. Bush cut taxes, but he failed to restrain the growth of government and, indeed, through No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D, actively expanded the size, power and expense of the federal government. The tax-consuming ticks grew fatter.

In 1994, the Republicans who gained control of Congress did so by pledging themselves as representatives of the taxpayers, and passage of the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 was their greatest achievement. But some Republicans grew weary of being called "mean-spirited" and, after Bob Dole's defeat, these GOP fainthearts heeded the siren song of "national greatness" -- that oxymoronic chimera "big government conservatism" or, as the Bushies called it, "compassionate conservatism."

We now see the bitter fruit of that poison tree: Once they ceased to be the party of taxpayers, Republicans were left without a raison d'etre. If the GOP cannot be trusted as thrifty stewards of our taxes, what is the point of voting Republican? There are many explanations for why the Republican share of the popular vote plummeted from 62 million in 2004 to 58 million in 2008, but the fatigue of the taxpaying host and the concommitant fattening of the tax-consuming ticks is the clearest explanation. Political cowardice has reaped its inevitable reward.

This was the grand idiocy of "compassionate conservatism" as an outreach strategy: "Look how blithely we betray our core principles! See how eager we are to backstab our staunchest supporters! Vote Republican!"

Why should any Republican feel malice toward Barack Obama? His election is the necessary consequence of Republican failure. If you don't like Obama, blame Bush, blame Karl Rove, blame Tom DeLay, blame Denny Hastert, blame Mitch McConnell, blame Trent Lott -- blame every Republican who adopted that go-along-to-get-along stance toward the ceaseless growth of the federal Leviathan. You can't feed the ticks and expect the host to remain healthy.

Next time you hear some Republican whining about the liberal media's fawning over Obama, ask them this: How on earth did John McCain -- a/k/a "Obama's secret weapon" -- get the Republican nomination with only 47% of the primary vote? Who were those 47% and why couldn't Republicans prevent the nomination of an unpopular candidate who had spent the previous decade stabbing his own party in the back?

If Republicans cannot unite on the principle of limited government, they will be divided and conquered by the united advocates of unlimited government. If you are unwilling to lose an election by standing firmly on principle, you might win a few elections in the short run, but eventually you will be defeated by your unprincipled betrayals.

The only glimmer of hope for the GOP at this point is that the incoming Obama administration and its Democratic allies in Congress are singing unison from the Keynesian hymnal, advocating a plan that will inject the tax-consuming ticks with hundreds of billions of taxpayers' blood. Conservatives know one thing for sure: It won't work. More deficit "stimulus" spending won't produce economic recovery and will, in fact, make the recession much worse.
"Central economic planning doesn't work. That's why we're in this mess."
-- Ron Paul
Now that the election is over, now that "Republican foreign policy" is a moot debate, now that the Surrender Lobby is fully in control of the White House, can Republicans stop hating on Ron Paul long enough to admit that he is absolutely right about the fundamental principles of political economy? You don't have to be a gold-bug conspiracy theorist to recognize that the open-the-floodgates policy at the Fed ultimately served only to enrich the Tim Geithners of the world. And among Geithner's Republican defenders, we see who sides with the tax-consumers against the taxpayers.

Since conservatives know that the neo-Keynesian methods of Obama and the Democrats are doomed to a disastrous end, this low ebb ought to be the beach head on which we plant our flag. Any Republican who votes for more "stimulus" is giving aid and comfort to the enemy, and deserves to be treated as the traitor he is. Perhaps the candidates for the RNC chairmanship should be asked to take a pledge: Not a cent of party contributions will be spent to support the re-election of any Republican member of Congress who votes for the Democratic stimulus package. If party discipline can't be enforced, at least ensure that the sellouts betray conservative principles on their own dime.

Obamanomics can lead to only one result: Weimar America. And that reminds me of a third item Instapundit linked:

"Why wait until the government gets around to issuing them in 2011, when they'll buy a single measly gallon of gas?"
Heh. And mega-heh. Taxpayers or tax-consumers? Take your pick, and make your stand.

UPDATE: Linked at Libertarian Republican. Thanks!

UPDATE II: Michelle Malkin refuses to join the Kumbayah Conservative Chorus.

UPDATE III: So predictable: "Shrill racist hatemonger Michelle Malkin indulges in a little codespeak . . ." Translating the code: "Shrill racist hatemonger" = Republican. Thou shalt not criticize Obama.


  1. "Look how blithely we betray our core principles! See how eager we are to backstab our staunchest supporters! Vote Republican!"

    That made me laugh out loud!

    can Republicans stop hating on Ron Paul...?

    They'd better at least pretend to because only us Paultards can defeat the Obama-Jugend.

    The other night on Red Eye Coulter endorsed Paul for '12, and she said during the campaign that she was afraid if she listened to him on foreign policy long enough, she'd eventually agree with him on that too.

  2. Thank you for your insightful thinking and commentary. Like a shot of good whiskey it burns while going down but leaves a warm glow. You help me maintain my sanity and sense of humor in these bizarro world times.