Progressive Liberal Austerity

Have you ever noticed that when progressive liberals speak of austerity, they always mean our austerity and never that of the government? 

We are constantly lectured by progressive liberal do-gooders in government about how much we cost the government. We eat too much. We drink too much. We smoke too much. We don’t get enough exercise. We live too long. We drive too fast. Our vehicles are too big. We don’t save enough money. We spend too much. We don’t pay enough taxes. We cost the government too much money.

Exactly when did it become the government’s job to hover over me to assess my every lifestyle decision and assign it a government cost? I didn’t ask for this comprehensive coverage, and I have no way to opt out of the system. Progressive liberals extending FDR’s model of hooking the middle class on government services to create dependence which could be leveraged into political power are the reason government do-gooders feel compelled to intrude into our lives and second guess our lifestyle choices. They’ve succeeded beyond their wildest dreams in creating government dependence to the point that government can no longer afford our dependence and must prod us into healthier lifestyle choices to reduce our collective burden on the taxpayers.

Capitalism by definition only operates in the private sector where private entities risk their capital to satisfy a perceived need in the market. If the perception of need is wrong, then capital is lost. But, if the perception is correct, then a return is earned on the capital risked. This return is known as profit in the business community and unbridled greed in progressive liberal circles. Government is supposed to provide those things which are needed for a properly functioning society but which are either unprofitable or require more capital than is available in the private sector. Infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and prisons, along with services such as national defense, a postal service, and education are apt areas for government involvement and were left to the government while America’s national wealth remained relatively small. As our wealth has increased, sufficient amounts of capital have become available to allow private enterprises to invest in toll roads and bridges, prisons, postal services, private schools, and some areas of private defense and security.

Progressive liberals invested in maintaining the current status quo in government are loathe to admit that private interests often do a better job than government. Private industry operates under the threat of competition while the government’s monopoly insulates it from pesky things like work rules, oversight, and the threat of losing one’s job due to poor performance. This is precisely one of the reasons public sector unions thrive because those attracted to government service are often not willing to put forth the effort to be successful in private industry and the unions can assist in maintaining this status. Hey, fire me for being lazy and my fellow union brothers may find a reason to stay home on Election Day or vote for your opponent.

If there was a need for the “services” being pushed on us by the government, then the private sector would be rushing in to fill these needs. The fact that they aren’t rushing in is a testament to the lack of need for such services. One of the great irritants of modern politics is the idea foisted upon us by Bill Clinton that taxes are really investments and government spending is really an economic stimulus. This perversion of adopting capitalistic terminology to confuse voters into forgetting the old mantra of tax and spend Democrats has well worn out its usefulness and only serves to highlight the absurdity of those who continue to employ its use.

Lest one thinks that everything can be privatized, there are some functions better suited to governments than private enterprises. We wouldn’t want our legal system controlled by a corporation which might decide to subvert justice to a scale of payments in order to maximize profits. Many would argue that this is already the case as high profile wealthy defendants seem to beat the rap way more often than those of lesser means. We have lawyers to thank for this as they control access to the legal system and create expensive barriers to the search for truth and justice. Other areas best left to government are the ability to deal with other nations, national defense, and the ability to resolve disputes between the states. Corporate interests managing these affairs might impose a profit structure unsuitable to our sense of freedom or ability to pay.

Despite the clear examples of functions best left to government, there are many functions which could be successfully outsourced to private industry, but which the politicians are unwilling to consider as their privatization would threaten the ability to leverage government benefits into the votes necessary to maintain power. Corporations have all learned the benefits of outsourcing in decreasing costs and allowing the company to better focus on the core competencies that make them profitable. This increased focus translates into increased profitability through better products offered at lower prices.

Voters are demanding that politicians take a page from private industry and outsource non-core government functions to improve their delivery and lower their costs. Voters have witnessed these outsourcing transitions in their workplaces and been intimately involved in the details of these outsourcing trends. Politicians have not figured out how to capture the transition to outsourcing of government functions and translate it into political success by giving voters better services at lower costs in a way that explains the process and details the benefits in easily understood terms. They have not developed the political language that will make this transition possible by making the voters understand they are improving government services. Until the old model of assembling voter blocs who each get what they want to support the party is dissolved and shown to be unsustainable through electoral loss, this idea will not be pursued. We are fast approaching this point, but we are not there yet.

TEA Party voters are clamoring for change and the public is dissatisfied with the system of gridlock, but the options presented by each side are either accept my position or endure gridlock. Some smart politician is going to present voters with an entirely new proposition that bypasses this false dichotomy of choices and presents voters with a radical new political paradigm. Until that time, we will be forced to endure progressive liberal reminders of how our choices are costing the government too much money despite the fact that we never asked the government for their supposed benevolence on our part in the first place.

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