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Thomas Sowell Quote

Very few problems can or should be solved, in the sense of wiping out every vestige of themónot even crime or disease. Would anyone really spend half the Gross National Product to wipe out the last vestige of shop-lifting, or every minor skin rash?

ideas > Why do people not vote for prosperity?

Why do people not vote for prosperity?
Every 10 years, a census is conducted in the United States. This year, I heard a lot of advertising stating that you should be counted so that you and/or your state could receive its fair share of federal money. The advertisements often targeted minority racial groups. I did not like the message for two reasons. First, is the federal government nothing more than a place for people to go for freebies? And second, the federal government and any good government, for that matter, should treat all citizens equally. It should be color and race-blind. Why then would the federal government encourage minorities to be counted for the census, so that they could receive their fair share of money?

The answer is quite simple. There are people who like to control groups of other people. The way that they control other people is to become politicians and then create programs, services, and benefits for those groups of people that other groups of people cannot access. Agriculture and other corporations receives subsidies that other industries can only dream of. Women and minorities receive special preference when applying for grants and contracts with the federal government. Many poor families receive welfare and other benefits. Practically every group receives some preference or other from the federal government. With over $3 trillion dollar of expenditures, it is the largest corporation in the world. Why is every conceivable group given money by the federal government? Nothing is free. The exchange or deal that is made is benefits and services for votes.

This deal is made with many promises. Politicians promise that these groups will be better off. The assumption that is made is that the group is better off, that no one is hurt by this agreement. The group continues to vote for the politician that keeps the gravy train coming. But is the group really better off? Is anyone or anything hurt?

To illustrate this point, think about what happens when one group is promised one thing, another something else, and on and on until pretty soon every little group in every little way that you could divide them is promised one thing or another from politicians. Remember, government cannot give anything away unless it takes it from someone else. So where does all this free stuff come from when everyone is receiving something? The answer is you. Everyone pays for everyone elseís free stuff. But then what are the consequences of this?

There are several. First, when people realize that what they have earned is being taken away from them and given to others, they will work less. This will result in less goods and services being produced. Second, there are some people that will quit working knowing that they will continue to receive their benefits and services without working for them. This too will cause less goods and services to be produced. Third, a well-paid bureaucracy will arise that administers this welfare state. This well-paid bureaucracy will dispense these benefits for a price. The price is control. The people lose the control to make their own decisions, as the experts or the bureaucrats dispense their wisdom upon the masses. Sounds more like Communist China than Free America. Fourth, the politician who promises the benefits will always make sure that he is well-paid with a high salary and many benefits. Fifth, the economy will suffer. It can be no other way. Less goods and services produced for the same amount of people will lead to a lower standard of living. No amount of promises by any politician or demagogue can change this simple, basic truth. Government cannot plan prosperity for the masses. It can however destroy prosperity with its incessant meddling.

So then, why, with all these negatives, do people continue to fall for this age-old political tactic of votes for benefits? Because they believe that they are benefiting more than they are being hurt. But is that really what is happening in the USA right now? Everyone is being hurt as the cost of living increases as goods and services become dearer and cheaper. Clearly, we are a country that has been divided into nice, neat groups by the federal government. They dole out benefits based on our gender, race, age, etc. Each group is promised something for nothing. But we know that is not true. It cannot be true. Everyone cannot receive something for nothing.

So what should we do? We should quit trading votes for benefits, because in the end we are all worse off. What happens is that less goods and services are produced. So we are all worse off. Sure our salaries increase as the government inflates the money supply through various methods and means, but in the end we have less that we can purchase. Think about it for a second. Thirty or fourty years ago, a family could live off of one salary. Nowadays, it takes two. Why is that? Because the federal government and the politician are destroying it by offering freebies for nothing to any and every group that will listen. This destroys the productive capability of a country. A growing bureaucracy arises and squeezes out the entrepreneurial spirit. Everyone, in the end, suffers. They have lots of money, but watch as the cost of living increases month after month.

My plea to anyone that is listening, anyone that belongs to one of these special groups, anyone that trades their votes for freebies is simple. Donít do it. In the end, you hurt yourself, you hurt your children, and you hurt your economy and others. Donít make the same trade that the Russians made with the Communists. They traded votes for freebies and in the end lost it all including the freebies they received. They lost their freedom. How? Because they gave the power to the politicians who created a police state and then used that police state to persecute the people who voted them in power. This would never have happened if the people had just rejected the false promises of politicians who promise something for nothing. Nothing is free in life.
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