Thursday, February 16, 2012

Whenever Government Does Something "For" Some People, It Usually Does Something "To" Taxpayers

Let's begin with a brief quote on the definition of 'Social Justice' from economist Thomas Sowell in Notable & Quotable:

"What do you call it when someone steals someone else's money secretly? Theft. What do you call it when someone takes someone else's money openly by force? Robbery. What do you call it when a politician takes someone else's money in taxes and gives it to someone who is more likely to vote for him? Social Justice."

Now let's take a concrete example of what Sowell is describing in Ready for Another Rotten Highway Bill? by Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina.

Even though the federal Highway Trust Fund has emptied its pockets and is now broke, politicians of both parties are plotting to spend more taxpayer money to keep the funds flowing. Here's the background story:

"The Congressional Budget Office now estimates that our national debt could nearly double over the next 10 years—to an astounding $29.4 trillion from $15 trillion today—so you might think Washington would be looking to stop the fiscal train wreck. You'd be wrong.

Despite all the hyperventilating about a tea party takeover in Congress, the sad truth is that in 2011 Congress increased spending from the year before, raised the debt limit by $2 trillion, and funded ObamaCare.

The highway bill is the latest example of Washington's bipartisan addiction to big spending. Every six years, Congress passes a spending bill that divvies up the revenues from the federal gas tax and other highway user fees. The money goes into an account called the Highway Trust Fund, and for decades Congress has promised not to spend more on roads and bridges than is available in the trust fund.

But the trust fund has run dry thanks to reckless spending and wasteful earmarks, so Congress bailed out the highway program—to the total tune of about $35 billion—in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Circulating now are two competing highway bills that both increase spending and force new multibillion-dollar bailouts. . . . Is this bipartisan spending spree what voters asked for in 2010?"

Now let's look closer at what our elected officials are doing "for" unions and "to" taxpayers. The federal Davis-Bacon Act's requirement to pay prevailing, aka "union wages," on government projects is the political vehicle of choice for giving to unions and taking from taxpayers. We'll quote Senator DeMint again:

"Here's a radical idea: Why not pay for new spending by actually cutting wasteful spending in other areas? It's no wonder our country is near fiscal ruin when the option of cutting spending is not even being considered.

It's also inexcusable that neither (House or Senate) bill repeals the wasteful and corrupt Davis-Bacon Act, which forces the government to pay labor-union wages for federal construction projects. Davis-Bacon harms workers who choose not to join unions, and it needlessly raises costs to taxpayers.

According to the Heritage Foundation, Davis-Bacon cost taxpayers nearly $11 billion in 2011—money that should be going to fix bridges, not line the pockets of union bosses. It's no wonder Democrats support Davis-Bacon: It's a congressionally mandated kickback to unions that funnels millions to Democratic campaigns every year. But why do Republicans lack the courage to stand up against wasteful regulations and spending?"

This shameless and wasteful bipartisan political spending is not limited to highway spending, of course. We keep spending money we don't have in the name of fairness--vote getting--Social Justice.

Our elected representatives do all this under the radar screen whenever possible, so the paying taxpayers won't get upset with their elected "public servants." Yet if the taxpayers aren't ever going to get upset, the political games of for and to will go on and on. Those "for" beneficiaries enjoy the game at the expense of the all-too-often unsuspecting, unknowing or seemingly uncaring "to" taxpayers.

In the federally mandated Davis-Bacon highway funding example, the free market isn't involved in establishing the price of labor when government funds are spent. Instead the Congress has engaged in price fixing for labor.

On top of the price fixing, Congress doesn't even make an effort to pay for that labor with higher gas or use taxes, or less government spending in other areas. They just add it to the future taxpayer tab the Chinese and other creditors are running for us.

Even when the Highway Trust Fund ran out of money to spend, our elected officials simply proceeded to spend more money that they didn't have.

Of course, we call this deficit spending, and politicians are very good at that. Meanwhile, the unfunded financial tab grows and our national debt increases each day. But the unions are happy, and the taxpayers often don't notice.

There is something terribly wrong and equally dangerous to our nation's economic health about all this wasteful spending and "bipartisanship."

In the name of fairness, taxpayers are always getting it done to them while unions are always getting things done for them. And the politicians are always the doers.

Who's helping the middle class? Not the politicians, that's for sure.

Who's helping the taxpayers? Not the politicians, that's for sure.

I guess that means we the people either need to stand up for ourselves or get used to having things done to us in the name of 'Social Justice.'

But whatever it's labeled, it's sure not the American way.

Thanks. Bob.

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