To Those Who Don’t Want Government in Their Lives

by Charles Bayer

Here is the tale concerning a chap who makes loud noises about how the government is interfering in peoples’ private lives, and wants Congress to cut all these socialistic programs.

When he was 18 he received a Congressional appointment to the Air Force Academy. While attending that college, where he got a first-rate free education, he also received the best medical care available. Upon graduation he spent the next ten years as a fighter pilot. This training set him up for a good job in the airline industry. For the following thirty years he enjoyed all the benefits to which veterans are rightly entitled. He shopped at the PX. The VA still provided his health care. His children were all born and cared for in a VA hospital. He bought a house using an FHA loan. When his father became seriously ill, the family was saved from financial ruin by Social Security and Medicare.

He inherited a farm from his grandfather that had been electrified through the REA and whose soil was periodically tested by the USDA. He rented out the land and received a significant subsidy on everything it grew. When he came down with a rare disease he was treated with drugs developed by the NIH, and certified as safe by the CDC. His grandchildren participated in a school lunch program. Their high school teacher learned physics in a NSF program, and all went to state supported colleges with government guaranteed student loans.

He drove to work on an Interstate Highway and moored his sailboat in a harbor maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers. The family took long trips using Amtrak, and enjoyed their visits to America’s National Parks. He used the Internet everyday, employing technology developed by a government grant to the National Science Foundation. He bought a Cadillac from a corporation saved by a government bailout. He owned stock in an energy company and enjoyed the benefits of the government’s Oil Depletion Allowance. When his local bank went belly-up, the FDIC guaranteed his account. And there was much more.

Believing that people should be free of government interference, he joined the Tea Party and attended rallies carrying a sign calling for big cuts in government programs. He regularly wrote his Congressman insisting that he vote to kill all government giveaways for which he was required to pay taxes. Why should he be taxed to support somebody else? After all, wasn’t his money HIS?

These days one can hear a chorus of loud wailing by those insisting that the government get out of all sorts of what they call “giveaways.” Particularly disparaged are programs that benefit other than those on top of the economic heap. “Socialism!” they call it. What these wailers fail to realize is that their daily lives are surrounded by government largesse. You might go through the following exercise. Make a quick inventory of your own situation and list all the ways you benefit from some government paid-for programs or services.

I doubt if a single one of the wailers, including even the most ardent libertarians, would want to live in any society that did not provide what they have grown to expect that the government can do for them.

The government is not the problem, or the enemy. Of course there are government boondoggles, useless agencies, waste and abuse. Public watchdogs need to be constantly on alert to sniff them out and then to elect representatives who will seek to get them defunded. There are ways in which a smaller government might be better, but come on folks, it might be popular to be anti-government, but like the chap cited above, few of us would really want the government to get out of our lives.