According to a recent report done by the Associated Press, the current economic recession is having a major impact on government. Tax revenues are expected to drop this year by as much as 18% — the steepest decline since 1932, in the midst of the Great Depression.
On account of rising unemployment and corporate downsizing, individual income tax receipts are down 22% from this time last year. Corporate income tax payments are down a whopping 57% from during the same time frame. Social Security taxes paid in have dropped for only the second time since 1940, and Medicare taxes for the third time ever. This, while the federal deficit has risen to $1.8 trillion. The U.S. national debt now exceeds $11 trillion.
What is the response to this by politicians? You guessed it: More borrowing, more spending, and more expansion of government. Obama and the Democrats are continuing to push through to passage what will amount to a massive government takeover of health care, at a cost of an additional $1 trillion over the next ten years. Bills just completed by the U.S. House of Representatives would also boost other domestic spending by 11% in 2010, and military spending overseas by another 4%. It gets better: Social Security entitlements will be impossible to pay out much earlier than governmental projections of just a few months ago. Highway, public transportation, airport, and other infrastructure projects are in limbo as fuel and other tax receipts remain in decline. “Our tax system is already inadequate to support the promises our government has made,” says Eugene Steuerle, a Reagan-era Treasury Department official who now serves as vice president of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. “This just adds to the problem.”
Well, where does one look for solutions? Clearly, the present situation is untenable. Politicians cannot continue to look to the Federal Reserve to print money at interest in exchange for government securities. Such smoke and mirrors have already been used to stretch things too far. The inevitable runaway hyperinflation and double-digit interest rates that will ensue promise catastrophe on a global scale unlike anything the world has ever witnessed. Food shortages, civil unrest, and even world war then become very real possibilities – not mere apocalyptic spectres.
Would such a tangled, perverse set of circumstances have much chance of arising in a true free market – meaning, a laissez-faire marketplace absent the existence of political government? In short, the answer is no. A voluntary exchange of goods and services either by direct barter, or use of mutually agreed upon commodity currencies (such as gold or silver, for example) would scarcely suffer the deadweight of state socialist monopolization kept running by compulsory taxation. Moreover, since willing customers rarely if ever purchase what they don’t want or need, the surfeit of wasteful “pork-barrel” spending would be ended permanently. Programs and agencies that have no purpose other than to bolster and cement the institution of government in place would disappear overnight. Nearly everyone would be more prosperous and have far greater choices – without worrying about economic ruin, starvation, war, or martial law.
It is time for Americans to remove their blinders and stop playing political shell games. Not only is government unnecessary, it is wholly undesirable. For that matter, not only is government undesirable, it is untenable if society and civilization are to survive.