Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Predator Government

"But the biggest lesson here is the old one that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance -- beginning with insistence on the rule of law. Americans clearly cannot trust their elected officials to defend their rights and interests, or care whether justice is served, when the slightest political risk might attach to doing so.

Which brings us back to Mr. Cuomo, whose office has been implicitly threatening to publish names of AIG employees who don't relinquish pay they were contractually entitled to.

Mr. Cuomo is a thug, but at least he reminds us: It can happen here."
It seems that only 2-3 months in to a new government in Washington that government is becoming more and more predatory. In order to spend more today and grow government in size, Washington is borrowing heavily against the future productivity and incomes of our kids and grandkids. Government is laying claim to the incomes of people who aren't even able to vote yet. (Talk about taxation without representation, eh?) Government is buying into businesses and industries in the name of ending a "crisis" and then it follows with efforts to control salaries and even business plans. Government one day passes a law that guarantees to enforce contractually agreed to bonuses to productive employees, and then the next it seeks to confiscate those very bonus payments. Stories abound out of Washington that people in government are looking high and low for any new source for increased taxation. There are many other government actions at the national, state, and local levels of government that could be included here.

In POWER AND PROSPERITY Mancur Olson explains that there are some basic necessary conditions for prosperity. These necessary conditions boil down to the strict enforcement of private property rights, which includes the strict enforcement of voluntary contracts, and a lack of predation. When government itself becomes the biggest predator, and when government begins to violate rather than enforce private property and voluntary contracts, these necessary conditions for prosperity are significantly diminished. After just 3 months into 2009 the actions of government suggest that our country's future prosperity is likely to be significantly diminished.

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