What These Elections Taught Me

If there is one thing the elections taught me here in California, it’s that people expect a lot to be provided to them by the government, whether state or federal.

Just look at the propositions that were on the ballot and passed in the state.  Prop 1A was almost a billion dollars in high-speed railroad bonds.  It passed by a small margin.  Prop 3 passed and was to issue about a billion dollars of bonds to fund renovations to children’s hospitals.  These propositions say that these programs will not raise taxes.  However, issuing bonds puts the state in more debt.  How do you pay off that debt without cutting spending?  You have to generate more revenue, which means raising taxes.

If you think about it for a second, do you think the government is the best agent to spend almost $2 billion?  Do you think they will get the best value and the most return on the dollars they invest?  If you want a remodel on your house, do you give your money to a third party and then tell them to build what they see fit?  No.  You would shop around and get the most qualified person at the most reasonable cost.

If you ask people, almost everyone will say that government programs are filled with waste, inefficiency, and bureaucracy.  Why then, when it comes to elections, do we vote for these programs?  It’s like we all get brainwashed by fancy TV ads and propaganda.  They might be great ideas, but just because it’s a good idea doesn’t mean the government should spearhead the effort.

If anything, the government should give incentives to private investors and developers to lead the efforts and perform the work.  Wouldn’t it make more sense for the hospital owners, which are for-profit, private companies, to perform the work themselves?  Maybe they can’t afford all of it, but the government could give incentives or tax breaks to help relieve some of the costs.

Instead, the government will spend money overseeing projects and allocating the money to whoever they want.  If the hospitals did the work themselves, at least we would know they would be targeting the facilities that needed the renovations the most.  Instead, politicians can give the money to a local hospital in order to gain votes.

The same goes for the high speed rail bonds.  Politicians will try to spend the money where it will best further their own agendas.  If private rail companies were formed, they would figure out the areas where the demand is the highest and where they can make money.

Why do we always fall into the trap of “government knows best?”  Most of the politicians aren’t experts in any of these fields.  Why do we think that since they are in government, they are instantly smarter?

Finally, the most controversial measure was Prop 8, which amended the Constitution to ban gay marriage.  I still do not understand why the government needs to be involved in this.  Not one supporter has told me yet.  They claim they are trying to protect kids and families, but those could be done with lesser laws that do not take away rights and liberties from individuals.

The government’s role is not to be influenced by the religious beliefs of a slight majority.  This is not a theocracy, and there is a separation of church and state for a reason.  Gay marriage should be between families and their churches, not between you and the government.  If you do not agree with it, that is fine.  If you want to change school rules to protect children, then do it.  But don’t put government in the position to take away civil rights of others to advance your own beliefs.  That could come back to bite you later when a different group is in the majority.

This country was founded on small government principles and somewhere along the way, the citizens began to believe that government knows how to fix any and every problem.  Instead of some ingenuity and hard work, we would rather vote to let the government deal with it.  Most people will agree on a limited government since it is part of our culture, but for some reason, on election day, all of these beliefs go out the window.  While all these propositions might have been great ideas, we need to realize that government is the wrong institution to implement them.

The one thing this election taught me was that this belief in government involvement is as strong as ever.  In fact, I don’t even think most people take a step back and see how involved the government has gotten.  They are so wrapped up in issues and their beliefs that they forget to ask themselves “is this really the role of government?”  After reading Ron Paul’s latest book and frequenting the Campaign for Liberty website, I almost feel “enlightened” and need to help spread the word of limited government and freedom and liberty for all.  I hope I’m helping.

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