Let Us All Sacrifice to Balance the BudgetBy Anthony Gregory, The Independent Institute
Jul. 24, 2011
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We’re often told that the budget can’t be cut without all of us sacrificing. This is used as a rationale to raise taxes. But it need not be that way.
After all, aren’t we also told that everyone benefits from the government? Surely the poor do, or so we hear. And the middle class? Of course we all are blessed to have the federal government be as active and large as it is. That’s what it’s mainly there for, all the politicians tell us.
The rich too must benefit immensely from the government. Why else are they always browbeaten into “giving back”? Surely if society is all in this together, certainly if the government represents some sort of proxy of the collective will, then when do-gooders talk of giving back to society, they at least in large part are implying that the rich do in fact benefit, in great deal, from the government.
Indeed, we are reminded that every group benefits from the government. If not for government, workers would toil in factories for 20 hours a day at less than minimum wage, and businesses would collapse amid the economic instability caused by their own lack of foresight and greedy orientation toward the present. If not for government, very few would enjoy a higher education, a horrible fate that would plague all of society. Without government, parents would have no one to help them raise their kids, and kids themselves would be at a loss, and childless adults would have no future to look forward to. If not for government, the West would be without sufficient support of its agriculture, the South would suffer from lack of economic protection, the North would lose its industrial advantages, the East would be deprived of much of its cultural lankmarks, and the whole middle of the country would have inadequate institutional linkages to the rest of America.
Without government, no one but the richest Americans would be able to afford a home, while banks simultaneously signed the poor up to high risk mortgages to get them into homes they couldn’t afford. Without government, everyone would be doomed to a lifetime of tobacco addiction, whereas tobacco farmers would be missing the subsidies that keep these great Americans afloat. Without government big corporations would have no one to bail them out and small businesses would never be able to compete. Without government police wouldn’t have any jobs, criminals would be missing their chance at rehabilitation, and the rest of us would suffer. Without government Americans would be threatened by foreigners and foreigners wouldn’t be liberated by American bombs and military occupations. We’d be at constant war or would lose the chance to fight for freedom, doomed as we would be to live at peace. Muslims would be subject to hate crimes and the rest of us would be attacked by Muslims.
Without government immigrants wouldn’t be able to go on welfare and American citizens would have nothing protecting them from immigrants going on welfare. Without government young people would have no role models, the elderly would have no voice, and adults in the middle would lack a safety net.
Without government car manufacturers would all go belly up and car buyers would have no one to protect them from the manufacturers. Without government there would be no money for scientific research; all that would be funded is the arts that appeal to the masses. Yet there would be no money in the arts since only the hard sciences would be profitable. Consumers wouldn’t get what everyone clearly wants from the market, while at the same time they would only be offered what was made to suit popular demand.
No one would deliver our letters and we would be flooded with junk mail if not for government. Our phone lines wouldn’t operate and we’d get telemarketing calls on those lines that don’t operate all day and night. There would be no roads, and yet if they did exist, they’d be congested always with drunk drivers and lunatics. There would no longer be any advanced industry at all, and the advanced industry that ceased to exist would spew poison into the air without limit. No one would have anything to eat and obesity would reign supreme. No one could afford pharmaceuticals and everyone would be addicted to prescription drugs.
All classes of people would suffer, since government is obviously there for the own good of all classes. It is fair to say we all benefit from government, so here’s a plan to make us all sacrifice relatively proportionally, a plan to address the budget shortfall: Cut the government across the board in one fell swoop. Indeed, cut everything by 50% just for good measure. It’s the even-handed thing to do.