On a recent morning television program, they were talking about the safety net offered by federal government programs. Really, I have a safety net and the government is looking out for me! What could go wrong?
Just wondering, what does it cost to have a safety net? Is the cost only money or are other things involved? This safety net is probably paid partially with my taxes. So the question might be, is the tax code built around the idea of every citizen contributing to making this a better country or, is the tax code a device for politicians to redistribute citizen’s wealth? Is everybody paying into funding the safety net?
There is a safety net to protect the environment. So the question might be, is the EPA (founded 1970) designed to protect our country’s interest as part of our safety net, or has it become a device to further the goals of a religion called Environmentalism? A religion first called Global Cooling, then Global Warming, then Global Change and now scientist tells us we face Global Cooling. This is a very flexible religion. This part of the safety net not only involves taxes, it involves higher compliance cost, higher fuel costs and restrictions on what individuals can do with their own property. For this part of the safety net, we give up money, and individual freedoms.
The safety net extends to education, insuring every child has an equal chance in the world. This part of the safety net was once run by local government where citizens met and decided what they wanted for their children. There are now Federal rules (Dept. of Educ. Founded 1970) regarding this safety net. Once again, the safety net costs money and costs local control over education for our children.
My safety net also has a Department of Energy (Founded 1970) working 24X7 to get low cost energy into the U.S. economy, to add jobs, and lower the cost of doing business. Except, it isn't. The government has determined oil/coal is bad. The government has determined wind and solar are preferred. Once again the safety net costs money and requires me to pay more for heating and cooling my home. According to a recent bill from the electric company, I will pay more for cooling during certain parts of the day and certain days of the week. The safety net is a method to ration power. Short question, do we all benefit equally from these safety nets? What would happen if all Federal Agencies not dealing with defense or law enforcement were cut in half? How were we doing prior to 1963, before these Federal Departments came into being? Does having a safety net require government involved in every aspect of our lives? Would we be safe with half as much government?
I don’t want to be ungrateful, but can I opt out of some part of this safety net? Of course not, I've given up some individual rights in favor of a safety net. A safety net sounds so essential. There are certainly people who need help and some level of protection is always provided to these folks. But in a country of plenty are there really 47 million people who would go hungry without food stamps? Why is the labor participation rate of 63.2%, the lowest since 1978? Why are the majority of jobs being created… part time jobs?
The idea of a safety net is so attractive. The idea a free insurance policy is so attractive. Doesn't free always sound good? Except, nothing is free, the government has no money, everything they spend comes from the pocket of those paying taxes.
We have expanded the safety net so far, it has become intrusive and is now reducing our standard of living, robbing people of the initiative to work and putting the government in a position of determining how we should live our lives? Simple question, is the price of the safety net too high? Do we want to give up our personal liberty in favor of a safety net? Does the government really know best? Are we better off today as a country than we were in 1963 before all these programs were introduced? Is it a safety net or a road to dependence?