Some things never change

– Quoted from
“$165 Billion in Red Ink: The Eye of the Hurricane”
by Philip M. Crane;
Imprimis, March 1977

””The time has come to say no, to put a stop to this business of redistributing wealth under the guise of being a “do gooder.” In fact, these social welfare income redistribution schemes do as much harm to recipients as to benefactors. Instead of maintaining pride and having some incentive to produce for oneself and, in the process, for the country, beneficiaries find themselves being locked into a system as insidious and more inefficient than that of the old Tammany Flail. Why should people be productive and self-reliant when they can do better collecting welfare, food stamps and the like: and why should they be independent when the myriad government doles provide so many incentives to be dependent? The process becomes habit-forming and the more people who get hooked, the more temptation there is for others to join them. With the federal welfare faucet flowing freely there will be increasing numbers who will say, if somebody else is collecting something for nothing, why shouldn’t we get our share also?

Eventually, if the cycle continues, more and more people will be living on less and less as no one, neither recipients nor those footing the bill, has as much incentive to produce.

When you get right down to it, taking money from one hard-working person and giving it to someone else simply because he doesn’t want to work so hard is theft, morally if not legally. Laundering the money, by having the government be the conduit for the transfer, doesn’t improve the situation ethically even though it makes it clearly legal. From a moral and spiritual, as well as an economic point of view, it is imperative that we turn away from government as the solution to the nation’s problems and turn toward the individual and the free enterprise system. After all, that system has worked well enough in the past to give this nation the highest standard of living in recorded history. And there is every reason to expect that it will do at least as well in the future, provided we adopt policies that discourage inflation, reduce excess regulation and encourage capital formation.

Which brings me to a final point. Congress, not the President, is the ultimate determiner of fiscal policy. If Congress has the power to create an unbalanced budget, it also has the power to give us a balanced budget. These so-called “uncontrollables” in the budget process are “uncontrollable” only because Congress has made them so; and what Congress can do, it can also undo. All that is necessary is a sense of fiscal responsibility and the willpower to act upon it. The day and age of irresponsible Congressmen taking the credit for spending programs and avoiding the blame for their consequences can and should be brought to an end.

To that I can only add that if we want individuals to be able to enjoy the fruits of their own labor, we must understand that individuals, and not society, should be responsible for their own actions. As Justice Louis Brandeis once said, ‘The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-intentioned, but without understanding.’ ””

“Reprinted by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College.”

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