Have you noticed how many people seem to want “the government” to do more and bigger things “for us” — things like more welfare, more medical care, more unemployment benefits, more subsidies for crops, more bailouts for businesses, and more handouts of many kinds for almost everything else?
Yes, it might seem “nice” in some respects if government would just relieve us all from a lot of the stresses of life. Why, we sometimes ask, doesn’t government just “do more”?
And yet, have you noticed that most of the people who urge government to do more for them do not want government to tax them more, personally, to pay for it? There is not much eagerness to pay higher taxes to fund more benefits.
But where, after all, does the government get the money to do anything?
Two places. One is — yes, that bad word: taxes! Or the government borrows it — which means putting taxes, interest costs and associated burdens on our children.
There are certain things the federal government should do for us, of course. Read the Constitution and you can get a pretty clear idea of what those things are.
But there are many things government is not supposed to do for us, and even is prohibited from doing. The Constitution spells out the limits on federal power, too.
We don’t want anyone in America to be in pain or distress. We don’t want anyone to have to do without anything that is a basic necessity, and there are many government and non-government programs to try to alleviate some of our problems.
But we all have heard that “you can’t get blood out of turnip.” So, after high taxation and wonderful charitable giving, what next? Do we impose still higher taxes, and kill the economic growth that creates jobs and expands the tax base?
Many of our economic problems — in government and personally — arise from demands that exceed our ability or willingness to work and produce. We often want more than we want to pay for — even with too-high taxes, debt and mortgages on our children’s future.
Really, the only way we can meet our individual and community needs is through productivity and responsible financial practices. That’s hard for some, so we have many programs in government to help, and many fine people who are charitably inclined to help others.
We can squeeze taxes out of people, of course. But we can do that only to a certain point before we start to experience diminishing returns.
It usually is not very comfortable to try to balance our desires and our abilities, our taxes and whatever it is that we want government to do for us.
Unwillingness to confront that difficulty is why we have a national debt of $14.3 trillion, an annual budget deficit of about $1.5 trillion, and excessive taxes.
The result is that many of us are dissatisfied, or worse, about our taxes, and our government benefits, and our jobs, and what’s left in our pocketbooks and wallets — if anything.
There’s nothing easy about any of this, and yet we have countless politicians promising to “solve” our problems easily, don’t we?
Do you believe they can do that?