What’s With The Hate On For Government?

September 2, 2010

“Libertarians like to rant and rave about how everything is funded `out of my pocket’. Like it’s just them. Go live in the fucking woods.”

“govt jobs are parasitic. we need PRIVATE SECTOR jobs. govt jobs are wealth transfer from those who work and save.”Ah, yes. The private sector. Saver of all that is good and holy. Our economic engine. Without the private sector we would find ourselves in a lawless, amoral, tribal society. It’s the difference between civilization and anarchy.

The private sector sent a man to the moon. Except it didn’t. The private sector invented this thing called the ‘interwebs’. Except it didn’t. It only commodified it. The private sector discovered insulin. Except no, no it didn’t. Apparently that happened at the University of Toronto.

Oh, wait. How about this? Private sector thinking brought an end to the Cold War and triumphed over History itself!

The all-knowing, all-seeing hand of the free market, left unfettered by the grubby demands of government brings prosperity to us all until such time when it doesn’t, and implodes in spectacular fashion, cracking and breaking under the weight of greed and deceit.

We haven’t arrived at this moment of dire economic circumstance because of out-of-control government spending. Actually, yes we have. Billions of dollars in bailout money to our teetering auto industry. Internationally, billions and billions of dollars to a banking industry whose self-interest knew no bounds and unscrupulously brought us to the brink of another, near total economic meltdown. Billions more to keep people working or to just simply keep them afloat when they lost their jobs and benefits in the, yes, private sector.

Now, don’t go getting defensive out there, all you Defenders of the Free Enterprise faith. I’m not suggesting we go all French Revolutionary on your asses, although there are some… no, let’s not go down that road. I just don’t know how all of this has become exclusively a government problem. Why are they now the bad guys?

I know you don’t want to talk about it since you’ve been so deeply in thrall with Milton Friedman for the last 30 years or so but according to Keynesian thinking, during times of economic slumps (and this one’s been a big one), governments take on debt in order to keep money flowing and everything from grinding to a dangerous halt. Done and done. Once things pick up, they then rid themselves of the debt through an increased tax revenue stream and trimming away at programs that are no longer necessary as folks are back at work, paying taxes, etc.

If you think that just two years after our near collapse that we’re through the woods and out onto the other side, you just haven’t been keeping up on your news. So government debt accumulates until such a time that things manage to get better. Doing anything else, like slashing and burning and selling off assets and other bullheaded ideas that cut government revenue seems unsound. Unless of course you’re using this crisis as an opportunity to rollback wages of those types you don’t particularly care for or to eat away at the government itself in order to limit its effectiveness.

But why would you want to go and do that? It stepped up when the private sector faltered, remember? In fact, it was because governments throughout the world dropped the ball in terms of regulation and oversight that we are where we are. Now you’re all like, up in its face, screaming how it’s the problem and how our lives would be so much better if government just backed off and let the private sector do its thing?

What’s that mayoral candidate Rocco Rossi keeps repeating over and over again out there on the campaign trail? “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”. We let free enterprise run riot for the past few decades with little governmental interference and look what happened. Why are you demanding we do the exact same thing again? You’re not expecting another result, are you?

So to all you Dominion Pundits out there, wailing on about how awful government is, the glory and beneficence of the private sector and raising the specter of wealth transfer, in case you missed it, a massive one of those just occurred, plopping the cost of private sector speculation, risk and failure right down onto governments’ ledger sheets. You’re welcome. Calling for harsh measures that will only bring more pain and dislocation is not only mean-spirited and short-sighted. It smacks of the same dumbass ideology that got us into this mess in the first place.

wonderingly submitted by Cityslikr