Thursday, May 16, 2013

Who's in Charge Around Here? ... Big Government, Bureaucrats and Public Choice Theory on Display

Government grows bigger and bigger as more "problems" arise in need of solutions. The obvious and best problem solver, according to politicians and government officials, is government.

French philosopher Fredric Bastiat long ago described government as the great fiction by which everybody tries to live off everybody else. Government officials are on hand to serve their constituencies, regardless of which side of the political street they may inhabit.

Thus, the beast grows in both size and power.

'Public Choice' And the IRS Harassment Campaign is subtitled 'Maybe the bureaucrats were looking out for their own best interests by going after critics of big government.' Here's what it says in pertinent part:

"To get out in front of a brewing scandal, Mr. Obama quickly labeled the IRS behavior—targeting conservative groups for audits or stalling the groups' tax-exemption requests—as "outrageous." On Wednesday, he fired Steven Miller, the acting director of the IRS. The president has also promised that the malefactors would be held "accountable.". . .

It isn't likely but it is at least plausible that the bureaucrats really were calling the shots themselves. That's scary. Police powers out of control?

This thought occurs because one of the instructions at the IRS for examining tax-exempt status was to target groups critical of "big government." Or in other words, groups critical of the IRS itself, with its expanded mandate under ObamaCare, and all of the other bureaucracies that comprise that vast conglomerate called federal government. Are the bureaucracies fighting their own war against the taxpayers independently of the political class?

That's not a particularly far-fetched idea. "Public choice" arguments long ago made a compelling case that government employees are no different from anyone else. They work to further their own interests. Like employees in any industry, they have a financial and psychological stake in promoting the growth of their organization. Growth means more promotions, better pay and more personal power.

Moreover, public employees have means of promoting growth not available to toilers in private industry, who actually have to produce something they can sell. Government workers only have to find a "problem" that needs their attention, publicize it with the help of the press, and marshal special interests to help them get a budget. Even if they were not specifically instructed to do so, it wouldn't be hard for IRS employees to persuade themselves to stiff-arm activists who want to cut the size and power of government.

But let's not let Barack Obama off the hook. He has achieved the top job in government by catering to the career interests of government employees. He and fellow progressives in Congress have created powerful new bureaucracies in health insurance and financial regulation. They have sharply expanded the government share of GDP. . . .

Washington is a town where a lot of other people have a career interest in big government, including a sizable component of the Washington press corps.

Government power makes the jobs of Washington journalists more important. It causes the value of their homes to go up while prices are falling elsewhere. It brings to town more large expense accounts for entertaining politicians and reporters, more fancy hotels and restaurants. Washington life is a good life if your conscience isn't bothered by questions about whether Joe Schmoe in Dubuque can afford you.

Mr. Obama marshaled all the forces of government, especially public employee unions, to win re-election. Should it come as such a surprise that the IRS was in his corner as well, even if not specifically asked by some White House aide to join the party, however unlikely that might seem?"

Summing Up

Yes, it's time to reflect on the part being played by politicians, bureaucrats, other public sector employees and even the "press" in personally benefiting from a growing and powerful government.

Are We the People sufficiently concerned to take back the reins and assert ownership?

And are the government knows best guys sufficiently aware that we just may choose to do that if they keep playing their silly games of suckering their fellow citizens and taxpayers?

Is genuine public service a thing of the past? It need not be, and ONLY We the People can provide the answer to that serious question.

It's a "Constitutional" thing.

That's my take.

Thanks. Bob.

No comments:

Post a Comment