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Balancing the Budget

If we are going to try to balance the budget, the key isn’t in doing it by taxing everyone until the debt is gone. The key is accepting more responsibilities as citizens, and not expecting the government to make things easier on us.

The reason why the government costs so much money is because we continually expect it to do more and more for us. The capitalist base that this country was founded on suggests that the government is there to protect our basic rights - “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This means that as individuals we reign supreme - the no one has the right to take our life, our property or our ability to achive what we are willing and capable of achieving.

However, as the years have progressed, our political leaders have told us that we need to be taken care of, and to appease us they have offered, as a government, to do more and more for us. And we have agreed, these things would be better if the government took care of them for us. But that was where we went wrong.

The governemt is bogged down with a quagmire of laws protecting ourselves from ourselves. Seat belt laws. Motorcycle helmet laws. Speed limits. Laws to tell you when a rapist moves into your neighborhood, or laws to tell you when you’re mature enough to drive a car, or drink. Although it seems to make sense that we shouldn’t do these things, that we should make responsible choices, the government is going beyond it’s basic role of protecting us from the force of others by telling us as individuals what is legally safe, which is infringing on our rights.

We haven’t offended the rights of others, for instance, if we speed on a highway. By telling us we cannot speed, the government is infringing on our rights to do what we want with our property, as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others. If, because of our speeding, we hit another car and injure another person and/or their property, then we have infringed on another person’s rights and we should be punished. But not until then. The government’s job is to protect us from others, not from the possibility of accidents caused by others.

We haven’t offended the rights of others, for instance, if we choose to not wear our seat belts while driving or riding in a car. The government’s job is not to protect us from ourselves, but from others. Even if we get injured in our cars because we weren’t wearing our seat belts, we cannot and should not blame the government for not intervening - their job is to protect our right to decide whether or not we want to use these safety measures.

I won’t argue that wearing your seat belt is not a good idea, or that all 10-year-olds should be learning to fly airplanes, but I’m not going to tell anyone that they should relinquish the responsibility of making these decisions to their government. When you let the government make some choices for you, what’s to stop them from making all your choices for you? Capitalism is a clearly-defined set of rules, all surrounded around the notion that the individual human being’s rights are most important. When you start to slip into socialism, however, and let the government take control of some aspects of your life for you, they can take more and more - you’ve let them - until you’re faced with a dictatorship, with communism, and no rights as an individual at all.

The government is also bogged down with providing for those who originally can’t - and now won’t - provide for themselves. The productivity generated by a free ecenomy has produced a great many things, for all of the people in this country and others. It has raised the standard of living for all. Considering the standards people lived at two hundred years ago, considering the number of religious wars that killed so many over the thousands of years of human history, considering the hundreds and hundreds of years the world lived in moral and economic darkness with other political systems, it is evident what people owning their own work can do for productivity, creativity and progress.

The creation of the welfare state has given people a reason to be unproductive. The creation of the welfare state has made people believe they deserve something for nothing. The government never said that every individual in the country was granted “life, liberty and a block of government-subsidized cheese.” But this attitude, the attitude that people deserve something for nothing from their government, can be seen in our homeless on the streets, with their cups in their hands, marking a post to beg from in front of people daily commuting to work. They ask for money, bless you when you pass (invoking the notion of a god and the altruistic notion to give to others, even if - especially if - they don’t deserve it), and occasionally, when they don’t get the money they want from you, they scream in protest, as if the money in your pocket isn’t yours, but theirs, and the have every right to expect a handout from you. America created this mentality when they created the welfare state, and we’re paying for it in many ways. The lack of a balanced budget is only one way we’re paying.

When the government - and the people - thought it was a good idea to help others, they didn’t realize that helping themselves by being productive raised the standard of living, created new products and services for everyone, and did end up helping others. They also didn’t realize that the productive earnings given to those who didn’t earn it had to come from somewhere - and where it came from was from the productive people’s pockets. And our productivity, as well as our budget - suffered for it.

The government is even bogged down with controlling and subsidizing many aspects of our lives. National defense is a job for the national government, because part of it’s job is to protect us from outside threats (that’s the “life” part of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”). But supporting the arts, education, medicine - the government is not responsible for any of these things. And most of the mediums the government has some level of control over have suffered in one way or another.

The arts have come under great scrutiny because people don’t want their tax dollars funding certain kinds of art works. America’s health care is more expensive and rated worse than eleven other countries in the world. And the education system? We need metal detectors at the gates of our city schools and kids graduate from high school without being able to read.

A business couldn’t run without producing a good service or product - in fact, it would have to produce a better product, since it would be in competition with other companies. And a business couldn’t run at a deficit - it has to be able to run efficiently in order to run well. In what has been the most capitalistic society to date, we have proven that companies can run efficiently, run well, and always produce a better product. This could also happen in the areas the government still has control over.

Privatizing education, for example, may bring the standards of schooling better, becasue suddenly there would be open competition. It would also allow for ideas that have merit but have been suppressed to be taught, because when goods and services are in demand, the demand will be met in a free economy (versus state schools, where boards of education have to impress the higher-ups in order to get more funding, and may alter their curriculum accordingly). It may cost more at first, but if Americans weren’t paying taxes for schools, they’d have more money in their pockets to be able to meet these expenses. Parochial schools do this already. And in this example, we wouldn’t have concerns about whether or not prayer is allowed in a school, because it is not state sponsored. And there would be no debate over whether uniforms are allowable - you may pick the school of your choice to send your children to, and base your decisions on prayer, uniforms, and even ability to teach.

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