Seton Motley | Less Government

Domestically and Globally

Government growth is a self-perpetuating and self-fulfilling prophecy.

Government is just another organism. Like any organism, its first instinct is self-preservation. Government – and its remora advocates – marshals all their forces should anyone suggest any program be reduced even slightly. As the late, inordinately great Ronald Reagan noted:

No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth.

Government’s second instinct is “What can I consume next?”We certainly see that in domestic welfare.

(T)he Washington Welfare-State…(is) (n)ot unlike the City-State Empires of the ancient world – Mesopotamia, Sparta, Athens. The Washington Welfare-State relentlessly conquers from the free market and the fifty respective states new territory and human chattel.

The Washington Welfare-State does so (exclusively) via the political, via Wars (on Poverty), and (New) Deals, and treaties (re)negotiated every two years – “Vote for me and I’ll give you even more free stuff.”

President Obama has exploded the welfare rolls – food stamps, unemployment (in large part by weakening the work requirement), Social Security disability, etc.

And adding people to these programs triggers their eligibility for a panoply of others. Like Lifeline – which gives free cell phones and free service to, really, just about anyone…. In 2008, there were 7.1 million Lifeline accounts nationwide. There are 12.5 million today….

Government growth results in even more, attending government growth – to accommodate the other larger parts. Like flabby legs expanding to buttress the expanding tummy.

Our nation’s government organism exists not alone in a terrarium – but in an international ecosystem. How we behave affects the behavior of other governments. They each transmogrify to adapt to the changes our government makes – and vice versa. A round-robin lather-rinse-repeat.

All of this is aptly demonstrated in international trade.

“Trade Wars” actually aren’t about trade –they are about government trade policy. If peoples are trading freely, there isn’t a “War”–there’s commerce. The “Wars”only happen when governments get involved –placing tariffs, regulations and subsidies in the way of the flow.

It becomes a regulatory arms race. A government imposes another subsidy or tax. So several others in response impose new subsidies and taxes of their own.

All of this is aptly demonstrated in farm policy.

(Our farm policy) has for seventy or so years been a Government-Knows-Best train wreck. To alter slightly Ronald Reagan’s line:

“Government’s view of the (farm) economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

Over those seventy or so years, our anti-free-market farm policy warped the emerging global farm market. The world’s growers saw our bad moves –and matched them. Subsidy-for-subsidy, tax-for-tax, protectionism-for-protectionism.

Seven decades later, we have a worldwide Crony Socialist nightmare mess.

All of which can be simply fixed.

The world’s crop-producing nations need to sit down together, each with a copy of everyone else’s lists of protectionist policies. And start horse trading.

“Brazil –how about if you get rid of this subsidy, we’ll each get rid of one.”

“Mexico –if you get rid of this tariff, we’ll each get rid of one.”

Let the subsequent discussions ensue. Lather, rinse, repeat.

And then we do the same with iPhone parts. And cars. And tires. And….

Less government pays dividends domestically – and all around the world.

Editor’s Note: This first appeared in Red State.