Sunday, January 8, 2012

Quotes of the day

Chip Mellor, chief of the Institute for Justice, commenting on campaign finance laws in today's WSJ:

There continues to be the false premise that the problem in politics is too much money, when in fact the problem is too much government for sale ... these campaign finance laws are really treating only a symptom, not the disease. Until you get to the root cause, which is too much government, you are really not doing anything productive and in many cases you are doing harm.

George Will, writing in Government: The redistributionist behemoth:

Liberals have a rendezvous with regret. Their largest achievement is today’s redistributionist government. But such government is inherently regressive: It tends to distribute power and money to the strong, including itself. 
Government becomes big by having big ambitions for supplanting markets as society’s primary allocator of wealth and opportunity. Therefore it becomes a magnet for factions muscular enough, in money or numbers or both, to bend government to their advantage. 
When taxes are levied not to efficiently fund government but to impose this or that notion of distributive justice, remember: Taxes are always coerced contributions to government, which is always the first, and often the principal, beneficiary of them. 
... when government engages in redistribution in order to maximize the happiness of citizens who become more envious as they become more comfortable, government becomes increasingly frenzied and futile.


Benjamin Cole said...

Hear, hear.

BTW, below is a list of federal employees by agency. All these employees can vote, as can their adult family members, as can contractors to these federal departments.

By some tallies, 6 million public and private employees are tied to the Department of Defense, and they all can vote.

Defense outlays have doubled in real terms under the Bush Administration, and have not retreated. VA outlays tripled, btw.

Employment by federal department:

Defense 3,200,000
Veterans Affairs 240,000 

Homeland Security 200,000
Treasury 162,119 

Justice 124,870 

USDA 100,000 

DOT 100,000
Health and Human Services 62,999 

Interior 57,232 

Commerce 41,711 

NASA 19,198 

EPA 18,879
State 18,000 

Labor 16,818 

Energy 14,000 

GSA 14,000

John said...

Amazing. The EPA has less than 20% of the employees as the DOT.

To fill George Will's prescription, we'll have to make serious cuts to defense. Contracts to Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, and a few others are the probably the biggest vehicles for influence peddling.

Unless I missed it, Will did not suggest any specific cuts.

djakel said...

Those are two great excerpts. The money in politics would dry up if there was no return on investment.

Perhaps the best column George Will has ever written. Big government breeds corruption, which is a vicious cycle, and the poor remain dependent on government because it pays better than a minimum wage job.

Ron Paul is the only POTUS candidate remaining who will tackle the behemoth. I even agree with his foreign policy, as written. However, I have resisted supporting him due to some really disturbing statements he has made in debates about Iran, Israel, and the cause of 9/11.

We are one black swan event away from our economy collapsing due to our enormous debt/liabilities. $76 trillion on a GAAP basis. If a collapse occurs, those Paul concerns will not be as important as they seem to be now. I know he is a long shot, but so was Obama at this stage in '08.

Benjamin Cole said...


Ron Paul is a tremendously appealing candidate.

However, he conflates small government--that I support--with a mysterious Theo-Monetarism, or worship of gold and a genuflection to paper currency as a store of value. He is exceedingly dangerous to economic prosperity in that regard.

As I have lamented ever so many times, is there not another party I can vote for?

Public Library said...


Ron Paul has it right. Central Banks are cartels. Where else on planet Earth have we deemed cartels to be efficient market friendly forces for the common good of all?

djakel said...

Paul could not 'end the fed' by executive order. There are moderating influences in both the public and private sector to prevent such a chaotic policy shift. He would need to build consensus to achieve a sound money policy.

Job one is cutting non-productive, unjustifiable, and unnecessary federal expenditures. He would have veto power to enforce the cuts. His veto pen would need refilling often.

Sorry, there is no other party we can vote for unless David Walker runs on the No Labels ticket. He is a fiscal hawk, but I am unfamiliar with his stands on other issues.

Benjamin Cole said...

BTW, I love the Institute for Justice, mentioned at the top of this excellent blog post by Scott Grannis.

"Institute For Justice - The nation's only libertarian, civil liberties, public interest law firm. IJ litigates in state and federal courts around the country on behalf...."

I wonder if the IJ would litigate on behalf of me, and my right to practice law without a license?

Anybody from IJ reading? Hmmm?