The Government That We Pay For

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 for.

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 incident either.

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.