During my sophomore year of high school, I was part of the journalism class, which wrote our school paper. I recently found this opinion piece that I wrote, which discusses government overreach and the need to limit government. Obviously, it’s not a perfect piece, but it’s a good snapshot of where I stood ideologically at this point in time.
Government: Less is More
By Jonathan Wright
Ronald Reagan once said, “Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them.” Our government is doing just this in our current economic recession. Unfortunately, when our country enters a hard economic time, many people assume that the federal government is the solution.
President Obama told us when we entered this recession, “At this moment only government can provide the short-term boost necessary to lift us from a recession this deep and severe. Only government can break the vicious cycles that are crippling our economy.”
This is actually quite untrue. Our government is layered, so the farther you get from the individual, the less knowledge about his personal needs there are. For example a city government knows more about its citizens’ needs than a state government, which in turn knows more about its citizens than the federal government. So to give the federal government the power to make these major decisions is hurting individual liberty. And the way it is handling problems is showing us that it is incompetent to get us out of the recession.
The government’s actions have made the economy worse, not better. It chose to attempt to help the economy through extensive spending and expansion of government power and it’s hurting our economy. We were told that the stimulus package would help our job situation, that it would keep the unemployment rate below 8 percent, and that without the stimulus the unemployment rate would be between 8 and 9 percent. Well as of the spring of 2010 the unemployment rate was right around 10.2 percent.
Also, Earl Devaney, head of the Recovery Act Accountability and Transparency Board, said, “The experts, the people who work in the fraud arena, say there will [be] significant fraud, around 7 percent lost to fraud in most cases. So if you do the math on $787 billion, not that I have, and you get $55.1 billion.” Fifty-five billion dollars will be lost due to fraud!
Let’s think for a minute. Does increasing the national debt help the economy? It looks as though the federal government’s plan is only succeeding in increasing our national debt. Think about this: would it help a household in financial troubles to spend more and increase its debt? Right now the government is spending tons of money on programs that aren’t even helping our economy.
Irresponsibility on the part of our government with its actions and money is part of the reason we even entered this economic ordeal. Due to mismanagement of two government sponsored enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, our housing market is in shambles. Government regulators encouraged them to increase the level of lending to low-income buyers. This escalated into a situation where these two companies were making more loans to people who had bad credit. People began to buy houses that they couldn’t afford with almost nothing as a down payment. Home prices rose dramatically and the housing bubble inflated. Without these programs, the government’s push, and of course people making irresponsible choices, this would never have happened.
So in the case of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government intervened and tried to make things better, but in reality made things worse. The issue comes down to what kind of matters the government should get involved in and how much it should get involved in things. Not only is our government managing the housing market, but it is making decisions for us like in the cases of Healthcare Reform and Social Security.
Article X of the Bill of Rights says, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” This article states that whatever the Constitution doesn’t give the federal government power to do should be left to the state governments or the people. Our government needs to cut spending and intrusion in people’s personal lives. The Constitution doesn’t give the government power to make decisions for people, and it needs to stay away from things that are not in its jurisdiction.
This article primarily critiques the federal government from an efficiency and constitutionality perspective, which is useful to some degree, however, I think looking at the role of government and the underlying moral issues is a little bit more beneficial. (Also, at the moment I don’t think I would reference Ronald Reagan as the standard for limiting government power. But that’s a topic for another day.)
I’d love to hear what you think of this post. Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.