Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Decision 2006: Kang vs. Kodos

Another election nears, and my level of depression rises as we draw closer. What awaits us on Tuesday? One more farcical exercise in a series of ostentatious failures.

Republicans - the party of fiscal conservatives - have enjoyed control of both houses of Congress and the White House for years, so what rewards have we reaped from their fiscal conservation?

Well, we did get a tax cut, and for that I'll give the Repubs credit. Tax receipts increased, even as tax rates decreased, as predicted by the Laffer Curve.

But federal spending is out of control. This document, while somewhat dated, shows exactly how much of a mess this government has created. And don't use the 9/11 excuse - less than half of all new federal spending goes toward increased defense and homeland security budgets (which would both be lower if we hadn't invaded Iraq under false pretenses, but let's ignore that for now.) 600% increases in dairy subsidies and 500% increases in soybean subsidies aren't supposed to happen under the watchful eye of a conservative president.

So now what is a voter to do? Am I supposed to vote for liberals to solve the government spending crisis? Although the specter of national health care looms with Democratic control, can they really do any worse than the Republicans have done with the Medicare drug plan disaster? Will they more than double the rate of government spending, like Republicans did? Will they continue to increase the spending per household, and spending as a % of GDP?

It feels so helpless to have the answers - let's face it, everyone knows the answers - while knowing that they can never be implemented. Government does not exist to help people, no matter how much they may need it. Government exists to protect personal and property rights. Every entitlement program oversteps the bounds of government and should be eradicated. As children of big government, it's difficult to even fathom the economic benefits we would enjoy from a small, efficient government that focused on its key responsibilities and left everything else alone. Everyone who contributes to society in some way would benefit more from a smaller government than they do from the host of federal handouts they receive - unemployment, social security, Medicare, etc. The economic impact over a lifetime of lower interest rates and a booming economy far outweighs anything a semi-productive person will ever receive from the government.

But looking beyond the assistance check in front of you is a lot to ask of voters. That would require foresight, imagination, perhaps even some research. And God forbid that you'd submit yourself to that frightening array of mental rigors when you could simply check out and vote for something important, like banning gay marriage.

Meanwhile, our neighbor to the west, the Communist State of California, is on the brink of enacting two more Robin Hood taxes, one against tobacco companies and one against oil drillers. Any chance those taxes would get passed on to the consumer, in the form of higher prices? Any chance that businesses would actually cut production rather than pay absurd taxes? That jobs would be lost and tax receipts would eventually drop below current levels as business made less money and fewer people were actually working? (No doubt the businesses will relocate to avoid taxes, like U2.) Californians seem to be moving in the direction of France and its 21% unemployment rate. But don't ask the voters to make intelligent choices about their own futures, they see a big bag of money in someone else's hands and can't wait to get their own grubby mitts on it, consequences be damned.

So get out and vote, and add your powerless voice to mine! Then we'll at least have the right to complain as the dark waters engulf our doomed ship: Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos.


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