The news you're not supposed to know...

Austrian Economics: Understand Economics, Understand the World
The Century of the Self: The Untold History of Controlling the Masses Through the Manipulation of Unconscious Desires
The Disappearing Male: From Virility to Sterility

The Obama Deception: The Mask Comes Off
Operation Gladio: The Hidden History of U.S. Sponsored False Flag Terrorism in EuropeThe New American Century: The Untold History of The Project for the New American Century
Article posted Jan 29 2013, 5:10 AM Category: Commentary Source: Steven Greenhut Print

Trying To Reform Government Is Largely a Waste of Time

by Steven Greenhut

Whenever I speak or write about Californiaís pension and public debt problems, I always hear from well-intentioned, conservative- and libertarian-minded people who want me to consider their solutions. Most of their ideas Ė caps on this kind of spending or that, changed pension formulas, public votes, etc. Ė are sensible enough, but they always miss the main point.

That is, they misunderstand the nature of government. They think that government is an institution that does all these necessary things and can therefore be reformed. But government is a vast force-based enterprise designed to take as much money from the public and give as much of it as possible to the clients of government. Itís a wealth transfer and any genuine services government provides can be done better, cheaper and more humanely in the private sector.

When it comes to pensions, thereís no technical problem. In about three seconds, I can craft a non-radical, extremely modest plan that ends unfunded pension liabilities. Starting tomorrow, public employees no longer receive defined-benefit plans and instead get a 401/k-style plan like typical private-sector serfs. What are they going to do, quit en masse and get private-sector jobs? I hear readers laughing now.

Problem solved. The real problem, though, is not technical, but political. The public-sector unions that run this state, and the Democrats and Republicans who do their bidding, would never allow it. As it is, they fight any tiny reform, even for future workers. So why waste any brain cells thinking about big fixes in a state government where legislators not only resist modest reforms but still hatch schemes to expand benefit levels for the elite class of government employees?

Remember -- the main goal of government is to get more for them. California's Democrats argue publicly that the public pension system is a historic success and that the real problem is the stinginess of the private sector. We have to understand this mindset.

In my experience, the average reform-minded person thinks that legislators and even some government employees will come to support sensible reforms when they realize that weíre only trying to rein in excesses. They think government should operate more like a business.

They think that if we convince enough people about the waste and abuse, they will rally behind our measures and proposals. After all, the current situation is unsustainable and our reforms will save the government from itself. They are as wrong as they are well intentioned.

The truth is government is like rust. It never sleeps. Government grows for its own sake and it has no intention to stay limited. Every bureaucracy, once taken root, will grow as long as someone feeds it.

Whereas private companies celebrate when they spend less to achieve more, government values the opposite things. Have you ever noticed how government always measures its success in terms of how much money it spends? Itís impossible to give government agencies enough money for anything. The more poorly they spend existing money, the better opportunity they have to clamor for more cash: "We never had enough to do the job right in the first place."

When asked once what he ultimately wanted, a union official replied: "More." Thatís what itís all about. Unions would rather drive the entire economy over the cliff and bankrupt a city or state than give up anything. Government has no bottom line, no customers and cannot be run like a business. Government operates by force and as a result doesnít care how unhappy the public is with its services. You donít like the IRS or local cops, what are you going to do about it? Any business with that attitude would, in the adapted words of Monty Python, be an "ex-business" because no one would go there. Government only has to take your taxes.

Every private-sector job depends on willing buyers and willing sellers. Obviously, people who value free exchange head to the private sector, and the government sector is a magnet for those who operate in an authoritarian kind of world. Itís therefore not surprising when government agencies send out press releases celebrating the huge fines they impose on businesses, as does the California Air Resources Board. It's understandable why Democratic leaders in Sacramento, for instance, drip with disdain toward the private sector.

One could argue that every dollar given to government would be better put inside an incinerator. Have you ever known an incinerator to abuse someoneís property rights? Do you know any incinerators that get "3 percent at 50" pensions? Likewise, any effort to reform government is filled with problems. Would you want an IRS that did a better job tracking and monitoring us?

I honestly donít know what we do about the frightening growth in government power, but I do agree with H.L. Mencken, who wrote: "I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time." Donít get me wrong Ė I appreciate the people who want to fix the current system, but they need to remember that government needs to be stifled rather than reformed.
Steven Greenhut (send him mail) is a Sacramento-based writer and author of Plunder! How Public Employee Unions Are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives And Bankrupting The Nation.

Copyright © 2013 Steven Greenhut

Latest Commentary
- 'Cuck-Mercials' Portray Men as Wimps; Lie About Race and Crime
- OU Professor: Youths' Attraction to Sanders Shows Education Failure
- The Establishment Push For Rubio
- Why Is Obama Flooding Small Towns in The Most Conservative Parts of America With Refugees?
- Stefan Molyneux On Rancher Shooting: "Where Are All The Outraged BLM Protesters?"
- Why Speak of Race?
- Video Shows Leftist Hag Amy Schumer Is A Dirty Joke Thief
- The Truth About Modern Art

Comments 1 - 3 of 3 Add Comment Page 1 of 1

Posted: Jan 29 2013, 10:13 AM

74204 I have a better pension solution. All pension funds should be rolled into Social Security (Americas pension plan for the commoner). Why do public servants have better pensions than the people who pay for it. Excluding them from Social Security only helps to bankrupt the commoners pension plan. This would not fix the ponzi scheme, only prolong it's failure. But we would all be getting screwed equally, instead of exempting public servants (unconstitutional). The law is the law for everyone of it is criminal

Posted: Jan 29 2013, 10:18 AM

74204 excuse the typo of should be or in last sentence.

Posted: Jan 29 2013, 5:04 PM

1272 Government is not the top of the power chain, it is merely the enforcement arm of it. Behind the scenes are the ruling class families who control the big banks and industries and they guide ship of state for their own purposes.

"The average American doesn't realize how much of the laws are written by lobbyists. It's shocking how the system actually works." - Eric Schmidt, Google CEO, to Atlantic editor James Bennet at the Washington Ideas Forum

Add Comment


Verification *
Please Enter the Verification Code Seen Below

Please see our About Page, our Disclaimer, and our Comments Policy.

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which in some cases has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for the purposes of news reporting, education, research, comment, and criticism, which constitutes a 'fair use' of such copyrighted material in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the DMCA and other applicable intellectual property laws. It is our policy to remove material from public view that we believe in good faith to be copyrighted material that has been illegally copied and distributed by any of our members or users.

About Us - Disclaimer - Privacy Policy

Advanced Search


Remember Me
Forgot Password?

Muslim Woman Explains How The Mosque Obama Spoke At Treats Women (Hint: It's Not Good) - 02/04NYPD Cop Wins $15m After Fellow Cops Falsely Arrested & Beat Him At His Daughter's Birthday - 02/04Retired Cop Gets Taste Of Police State After Officers Bust In, Assault Him - 02/04Paul Joseph Watson And Stefan Molyneux On The Real Agenda Behind The Migrant Crisis - 02/04NYPD Cop, Whose Job Was to Bust Prostitutes, Exposed as a Pimp in Massive Sex Trafficking Ring - 02/04Hillary Clinton Suggests She Can't Be Part Of The Establishment Because She Is A Woman - 02/04TCU Professor Calls Police On Disabled Student Veteran Over Dissenting Opinion - 02/04Jeb Bush Preps The Noose... - 02/03

Cop Who Sought Photos of Teen's Erection in Sexting Case Commits Suicide Moments Before Arrest
Texas Man Sues After His Truck Seen Being Driven By Jihadi Fighters
When "Rescuers" Become a Death Squad: The Killing of Michael FunkHow Hillary Clinton Abused Her State Department Role to Help Her Hedge Funder Son-in-LawCops Fighting Mandatory Drug Tests -- Claim It's 'Unconstitutional' to Screen Police UrineNumber of Cops Charged With Murder Or Manslaughter Triples In One YearGood News: 27% Of Americans Say Government Is Their 'Enemy,' Not Their 'Friend'Prosecutors Pissed Colo. Juries Keep Acquitting Marijuana DUI Suspects