Our nation spends too much relative to its income. So do other nations.
Most individuals do as well, but we seem to acknowledge and see that trait and shortcoming in government much easier and with more clarity than we are able to recognize our individual failings.
The best definition of government I've ever seen comes from Frederic Bastiat in his 1848 essay on government. Unfortunately, it still holds true today, both in the U.S. and throughout the world.
"GOVERNMENT IS THE GREAT FICTION THROUGH WHICH EVERYBODY ENDEAVORS TO LIVE AT THE EXPENSE OF EVERYBODY ELSE."
I was recently reminded of this when reading about the issues newly elected Illinois Governor will be facing. The editorial is Bruce Rauner Almighty:
"Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner won election in November with a mandate to reinvent Illinois, and this week he teed up some of his plans.
Mr. Rauner took a warm-up swing at the unions . . . . For starters, he wants to do away with project labor agreements (PLAs) “that are basically what the unions have worked out with the politicians” who “they influence with campaign cash and then impose those contracts on the businesses that contract with the state.” Mr. Rauner complained that PLAs, which usually require contractors to pay union wages and benefits on public construction projects, increase costs by about 18%.
Also on his agenda are “right to work zones” that allow local voters and governments to decide whether workers should be required to join a union and pay membership dues as a condition of employment. While the Republican doesn’t intend to make Illinois a right-to-work state—he wouldn’t have the votes in the heavily Democratic legislature—he fundamentally supports “employee empowerment,” which is his preferred term for right-to-work. . . .
His other ideas to make Illinois more business friendly include cutting workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance costs. He also wants to curb “lawsuit abuse,” which he says is “pushing doctors and health care providers out of the state.”. . .
Mr. Rauner’s more urgent, and less glamorous, job will be closing a $5 billion deficit over the next two years without raising taxes. The personal income and corporate tax increases that Democrats passed in 2011 partially sunset this year, and the governor has suggested extending the sales tax to some services to fully phase out the income-tax hike and close the budget gap. That will be a heavy lift in the legislature....
The governor next month will flesh out his agenda in his budget, which judging by his sneak preview may rank among the boldest in the country. If Mr. Rauner’s goal is fixing the most ill-governed state in the union, nothing less will do."
Some things never change. Human nature is one of them.
And our tendency to seek more from governments than we contribute is part of the human condition. We enjoy free lunches. We even believe we deserve them.
Too many public officials are afflicted with the desire to have both fame and job security. We the People pay a heavy price for that.
Governor Rauner is in the early stages of learning about governing in a free society. It ain't gonna be easy. Not at all. But let's not feel sorry for him. He asked for the job, and now he's got it.
We'll stay tuned to what's happening in Illinois, other states, school districts, Social Security, Medicare, ObamaCare, free college, Greece, Russia, ISIS, our nation as a whole and other governing bodies throughout the world.
We the People really are an interesting bunch. And in the end, whenever that comes, we will get the governments we deserve.
That's my take.