Limited Government, Government Workers

I thought I would share my comments on a current debate that I am having with friends over whether limited government supporters are hypocrites for taking government handouts. Here is what I had to say:

“The issue at hand on whether or not taking government benefits is hypocritical, while criticizing government to me can be explained through public choice economics.  Gordon Tullock from George Mason (University), who should have won the Nobel Prize in Economics with James Buchanan, wrote a very interesting article that relates to this subject. It is entitled “The Paradox of Revolution.” He uses an interesting example…

“Ruritania is governed by a vicious, corrupt, oppressive, and inefficient government. A group of pure-hearted revolutionaries are currently attempting to overthrow the government, and we know with absolute certainty that if they are successful they will establish a good, clean, beneficial, and efficient government. What should an individual Ruritanian do about this matter? He has three alternatives: He can join the revolutionaries, he can join the forces of the repression, or he can remain inactive.”

He then comes to the conclusion that the benefit of revolution is public good, while an individual joining would have a near-zero chance of changing the outcome. But also, if the revolutionary forces win, he will benefit from the public good even if he does nothing. And doing nothing decreases his chance of jail, injury, or death if he joins and the government wins or puts up a good fight.

Therefore, economically, his incentive is not to join the revolution as the low probability of success combined with the large punishment for failure is much higher then the public good that he himself cannot influence but in the .00001 percentage.

A comparable example would be what if in a presidential popular vote election your chance of dying was 1 out of 10 and your chance of changing the election is 1 in a million. The individual would not vote even though he knows if his candidate wins the country will be better off.

So how does this relate?

Any individual who benefits from the government whether its a politician, a farmer who gets subsidies, or an government bureaucrat has no individual incentive to quit his job even if his believes are that his job shouldn’t exist say for example. The government bureaucrat knows that even though the public good would be better off without the existence of his job, does not mean that him quitting would change anything at all. More than likely the government would hire someone else and would spend more money doing so.

One government bureaucrat quitting their job, or in the case above one Congresswoman refusing her government health care is not going to change the outcome of government health care. All it does is impose costs on the individual and benefits to no one.

So folks, this is exactly why big government exists.

We assumed in the example above that we knew with 100% certainty that the new government would be the best government the world had ever seen. And that is a big assumption. Most revolutions that occur in the world are merely trading one dictator for another. One could argue that, in fact, the American revolution is one of the only examples in history (maybe the Roman revolution from kings to republic) is the only non-example of this.

Limited government is filled with public goods, while big government is filled with individual handouts and this is why every limited government in the history of the world has turned into big government.”

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Published in: on March 17, 2011 at 8:58 pm  Comments (1)  
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Ron Paul Winning CPAC: Real vs. Ideal

Almost everyone who follows politics knows that at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference libertarian-republican (if you can put those two words together) Representative from Texas, Ron Paul, won the straw poll. CNN has it here:

“The results of the Washington Times CPAC straw poll of presidential candidates are in, and the winner is Texas Rep. Ron Paul, with 30 percent of the vote. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was the runner-up with 23 percent.

There were 3,742 ballots cast in the annual survey, which is a chance for devotees to name their pick for president in 2012. Fifty-six percent of those surveyed said they were generally satisfied with the field of potential candidates and 43 percent said they wished the GOP had a better field of potential candidates. For those surveyed, the size of the federal government was the most important issue to them.”

In a lot of ways the above straw poll shows the state of the Republican party. The debate between the ideal and the real.

The Mitt Romney’s of the Republican party are going to argue that the Ron Paul’s of the party even with their good ideas are not electable, we should settle on someone like Mitt Romney, which they consider the real. The Ron Paul’s of the party will say that we should not settle for the ideal. So who wins?

Neither of them will ever win. This is what “Republicans” have such a hard time accepting. The system, which is our laws and policies, will never elect anyone who is for limited government. It just simply can’t happen. The current system rewards those that dole out to special interests and punishes those that stand for ideals. It doesn’t matter whether your limited government candidate is a Ken doll from a liberal state or a squirrelly off the cuff texan, he who will be elected will have to have friends in high places to do so.

Why is it the Republican party cannot accept this? Think about the majority of Republican party members. They usually hold one, if not all of these characteristics:

  • Loves the Constitution
  • Loves the American Flag
  • Loves the Founding Fathers

Now, there is nothing wrong with loving these three things. But like a good love, they will break your heart. And the Republican party refuses to get over it. The founding fathers were great visionaries and they created a government that they would hope would stay limited. They did the best they could do and they should be honored for that. But that does not help us sustain a limited government.

Next is the Constitution and this is the real big one for conservatives. How many times have we heard “only if they followed the Constitution”? I know I have heard it a million times myself. But for some reason conservatives and the Republican party are okay with saying that. It’s as meaningless as a police chief throwing up his hands and saying “only if they followed the law.”

What we need to look at is why is it that the Constitution is not followed? And under what system would we have a more effective society? Is there an alternative?

Texas Threatens to Leave the Union

This from The Huffington Post:

“Texas Gov. Rick Perry fired up an anti-tax “tea party” Wednesday with his stance against the federal government and for states’ rights as some in his U.S. flag-waving audience shouted, “Secede!”

An animated Perry told the crowd at Austin City Hall — one of three tea parties he was attending across the state — that officials in Washington have abandoned the country’s founding principles of limited government. He said the federal government is strangling Americans with taxation, spending and debt.

Perry repeated his running theme that Texas’ economy is in relatively good shape compared with other states and with the “federal budget mess.” Many in the crowd held signs deriding President Barack Obama and the $786 billion federal economic stimulus package.”

This begs the question that if this were to really happen what would Obama do? The basic idea is that the Constitution is suppose to be a social contract. Most normal contracts have exit clauses. The Civil War showed that the Constitution did not have an exit clause. Should there be an exit clause in the Constitution?

Many people like the author of this blog, would argue that the government would stay more limited and work much better as they would have to compete to keep their tax base. Are there any good arguments against allowing secession?

The rest is here.

~PCCapitalist

Why are you a small government Conservative?

Why all this?

Why all this?

Many people claim to be Republicans and champions of limited government but in fact they embrace large government tendencies. The idea that you could control someone’s bedroom is in the same line of thinking that you can control someone’s wallet. This line of reasoning does not make sense. So the question is, if you call yourself a small government Conservative, then why are you? Even more, if you are a SGC do you also call yourself Republican?

Bill Kristol who usually spouts off Neo-Conservative ideas that are horrible makes an important point in his  latest article. He believes that we need to look at why we are small government and he goes on to say that Republicans are not, not matter how much they say it. I am not sure if Kristol would agree with this part but I honestly believe you must be able to understand economics. That is the main purpose of this site. It is to shape your mind into thinking about everyday things in a different way. Not just saying the bailouts are bad but actually explaining how they are bad. Here is more from his article in The International Herald Tribune:

“But conservatives should think twice before charging into battle against Obama under the banner of “small-government conservatism.” It’s a banner many Republicans and conservatives have rediscovered since the election and have been waving around energetically. Jeb Bush, now considering a Senate run in 2010, even went so far as to tell Politico last month, “There should not be such a thing as a big-government Republican.”

Really? Jeb Bush was a successful and popular conservative governor of Florida, with tax cuts, policy reforms and privatizations of government services to show for his time in office. Still, in his two terms state spending increased more than 50 percent – a rate faster than inflation plus population growth. It turns out, in the real world of Republican governance, that there aren’t a whole lot of small-government Republicans.

Five Republicans have won the presidency since 1932: Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and the two George Bushes. Only Reagan was even close to being a small-government conservative. And he campaigned in 1980 more as a tax-cutter and national-defense-builder-upper, and less as a small-government enthusiast in the mold of the man he had supported – and who had lost – in 1964, Barry Goldwater. And Reagan’s record as governor and president wasn’t a particularly government-slashing one.”

So why are you a small government conservative?

The rest is here.

~PCCapitalist