Monday, March 29, 2010
The Government Plantation Forever?
by Star Parker
Let’s do a quick thought experiment.
The price of apples keeps going up. The government decides that every American must buy apples. But some can't afford them.
Government starts controlling how much apple farmers are paid, it mandates that every single American buys apples and subsidizes those under a certain income level so they can.
Will the price of apples go down, stay the same or go up? Or, in economists' language, if you limit the supply of a commodity and increase demand, will the price of that commodity go up or down?
Did you say "up"? You get an A. But if you did say "up," you surely are not a Democrat.
Democrats have just committed multitrillions of our money, and, as a bonus, sold a big chunk of American freedom down the road, betting that everything a college freshman learns in basic economics is not true. Or, that health care doesn't follow the rules of economics. Because our new health-care system is pretty much the apple scenario described above.
Or, maybe they don't care? Maybe it's not about economics, but about ideology and political power. And that the real issue is freedom. They think we've got too much and that politicians should decide what is fair and who should have what.
A revealing moment during the presidential campaign occurred when, during one debate, ABC's Charles Gibson pushed then-Sen. Barack Obama about his stated intent to increase capital gains taxes. Gibson brandished data showing that when you cut this tax, government tax revenues increase, and when you raise it, revenue drops (punishing investment surely produces less).
"So, why raise it?" Gibson asked. Obama responded that maybe it won't happen that way this time. And besides, he said, his motive was "fairness."
After voters in Massachusetts elected a Republican to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, killing the Democrats' filibuster-proof Senate majority, many pundits wrote that President Obama had to move to the political center.
I wrote then that this wouldn't happen because, unlike President Bill Clinton, who did moderate, Obama is a left-wing ideologue. He didn't run for president to be somebody. He did it to do something. He did it to change America.
As polls showed waning public support for what Democrats were pushing on health care, many assumed they would back off. It was still conceivable that they could stand rules on their head and ram the thing through using the so-called reconciliation procedure. But why would they do it when polls suggested they would be punished in November elections?
But Obama understood that when you are selling dreams, numbers don't matter.
So, as in the housing and financial debacle we just went through, you commit taxpayer money to subsidize a product to make it look cheaper than it is, you get people to buy it, and when it all comes crashing down, it doesn't matter. By then you're long gone.
And, another bonus, as more Americans get herded onto the government plantation -- 30 million more with this new bill -- it's easy to keep them there. So the most likely political outcome going forward is higher taxes and income redistribution to pay for it all, entrenching socialism more.
As I have written before, if you want to know where it all leads, look at our inner cities that were long ago taken over by government compassion. This is our future, my fellow Americans. Oh, back to the apples. Their prices were
rocketing up to begin with because government was already controlling and
Republicans are mad. But will they be able to entice Americans off the
ever-growing government plantation? Will they propose and succeed in selling the
bold ideas necessary to turn the basket case we're becoming around?
About The Author
Star Parker is the founder and president of CURE, the Coalition for Urban Renewal & Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of White Ghetto: How Middle Class America Reflects Inner City Decay.