Recently, investigative journalists such as Michelle Malkin uncovered the Solyndra scandal: the fact that the Congress and the White House have given $535 million of taxpayers’ money to a solar panel producing company which has defrauded this money and is now being investigated by the FBI. A little less than 3 years ago, Americans were shocked that President Bush and the Congress doled out $700 billion of taxpayers’ money to Wall Street to bail it out. Now, partially thanks to these crony capitalist giveaways, the US is in debt to the tune of $14 trillion.
Why does the Federal Government do this? Why is Big Government so Big? Why are few politicians willing to reduce its size? Why are most politicians protecting the status quo?
Because it works for them. It profits nicely for them. Private businesses get federal giveaways, and politicians get campaign contributions.
Private companies need cash. The easiest way to get it is to get government subsidies or tax loopholes/exemptions/deductions/credits. Had it been made clear that they will never get them, they would’ve never even tried to obtain them. Under the current system, under the current circumstances, they have to get them. It means stuffing their owners’ pockets nicely and during the current economic crisis it may mean survival to many companies. They can’t afford to play fair, because other businesses won’t.
Politicians need cash to get elected and reelected (e.g. to pay for ads). They need lots of it. Today, in all developed countries, including the US, elections are decided by money more than anything else. Thus, politicians need lots of cash to get elected and reelected.
So private businesses like Solyndra and special interest groups give campaign contributions to selected politicians, and they promise to repay them by giving them subsidies, other giveaways, or tax loopholes. Then, they get elected and make good on their promises, fearing that their campaign donors will donate money to someone else during the next election season and that they will be voted out of office as a result. So they continue to dole out money and tax loopholes to selected businesses and special interest groups.
And because politicians want to be reelected indefinitely (for example, Congressman Frank Wolf has been in the House since 1981 and John Boehner since 1991), they continue to shovel huge subsidies and huge tax loopholes to them. Thus, Big Government is perpetuated.
The CATO Institute estimates that there are now 2,001 federal subsidy programs.
Anyone who opposes these programs is denounced as mean and heartless, and special interest groups and their PACs pay for attack ads against them and donate to their opponents.
Of course, there is a protection against such subsidies and the crony politicians who dole them out. It’s called the United States Constitution. It’s the greatest protection against such giveaways and against government in general ever devised.
But politicians are not obeying the US Constitution. Since 1913, they’ve regarded it as a mere obstacle that they need to defeat. George W. Bush even said in 2005, “Stop throwing the Constitution in my face! It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”
And this is exactly the root cause of this problem, as well as of most of America’s problems: politicians and government agencies are refusing to obey the Constitution, while most private citizens are unwilling to enforce it by voting all politicians who disobey the Constitution out of office.
The only solution is to reduce the size of the federal government to the size authorized by the US Constitution, and to enact further reforms which, together with the Constitution, will prevent the reemergence of this Big Government ever again:
1) All politicians who disobey the Constitution (e.g. by voting for unconstitutional bills and subsidies) must be voted out of office. I don’t care how socially conservative they, or how strong on defense they are, or whether they’re good Christians or not. They swear oaths to obey the Constitution. If they don’t abide by the Constitution, vote them out of office. There are milions of decent folks in America – more than enough people to replace 435 Congresscritters and 100 Senators.
2) Abolish all unconstitutional federal agencies (e.g. the DOE), laws (e.g. the Porkulus and the 2007 energy bill), and programs.
3) Implement the FairTax (a 23% national sales tax with no exemptions or loopholes) and repeal the 16th Amendment.
4) Repeal the 17th Amendment. Make Senators elected by state legislatures again.
5) Institute term limits for members of Congress, members of state legislatures, and Governors.
6) Institute some kind of a campaign financing limitation law in each state (not a federal law like the McCain-Feingold Act). As long as money has a huge influence on elections, it will be difficult to accomplish anything.