Many people think that we don’t get the government that we
pay for. This is probably true in
most cases, but it could be far worse.
We could actually get all of the government that we are forced to pay
There was a recent story out of Rockford, Illinois in which
the city government ordered a church to stop providing help for the
homeless. The church was allowing
homeless people to take shelter from the bitter cold outside.
The caring city government shut this down due to zoning
issues and for violating the fire safety code.
So the city government, in all of its wisdom, wanted to keep
people safe from a potential hazardous situation. The caring bureaucrats did not want a fire safety
hazard. Even if the odds of having
a fire are less than 1%, we can’t be too cautious.
Therefore, to make sure nobody gets hurt, the city
government thought it would be better to throw the homeless people back out on
to the street in freezing temperatures.
Remember, safety first.
While this is a more blatant example of government
incompetence, or perhaps government cruelty, this isn’t exactly an isolated
When thousands of new laws and regulations are passed every
year – at the federal, state, and local levels – it is inevitable that some of
them are going to have really bad consequences. Unfortunately, it is not usually the bureaucrats who
implement and enforce the laws who suffer the bad consequences.
It is also inevitable that some bureaucrat is going to
interpret some statute in a way that it was never intended. It is inevitable that someone is going
to enforce a statute that is against all common sense and human decency.
In this sense, I am really glad that we don’t get all of the
government that we are forced to pay for.
Imagine if all laws and regulations were enforced like this one. It probably wouldn’t be an exaggeration
to say that we would live in an almost completely totalitarian society.
There are many people who will complain about government,
but say that government needs to be more efficient. When Mitt Romney was campaigning for the presidency, he said
he wanted to run the government more like a business.
But we should be careful in what we ask for. Do we really want the government
running more efficiently? Can the
government really operate like a business? Businesses usually get money by pleasing customers, not by
forcing people to pay for something that they don’t want.
I understand the sentiment in wanting government
efficiency. People don’t want
their tax money wasted. But you
can’t expect it to be put to good use very often when you are forced to pay
taxes, especially in large amounts.
Do you want a more efficient NSA that can track everything
Americans say and do?
Do you want a more efficient IRS in making sure that
everyone is audited?
Do you want a more efficient education system where children
are only taught the materials deemed proper by the state?
Do you want more efficient city governments like that in
Rockford, Illinois that makes sure no one is in violation of zoning laws and
fire safety standards?
Government efficiency should not be a goal for liberty
lovers. Reducing government power
should be a goal.