Only Government Can

Only government can build a rocket that would take us to the moon.  I’m not sure how many times I’ve heard that argument recently being applied to universal healthcare, the economy, ending global warming through oppressive taxes, etc.  Of course, this begs the question, why would any private enterprise want to go to the moon?  For the billions of dollars we have spent to send a man to the moon, the best thing we can claim out of it are some cool pictures and stories, definite proof that the Earth is round, an early real estate claim on lifeless rock (with no ocean view), and that we got there before the Soviets.  (Mommy, Mommy, what’s a soviet?  Ask your Grandpa, dear)

On the other hand, we put men in conditions that OSHA would never allow today, lost several men and women in rocket related disasters, violated all sorts of affirmative action quotas with our majority white male astronaut population, and probably caused more global warming with each rocket launch than you could in three lifetimes with your SUV, regular lightbulbs, occasional steak dinner, and failure to recycle.  When you start paying an extra $150 a month in your utility bill to fund Cap and Trade legislation, you can at least look up at the moon at night and say “hey, someone’s been there.”

I suppose that’s really why only government could go to the moon.  Not so much that NASA costs hundreds of billions of dollars with almost no financial return, meaning that no one would invest in it unless under compulsion.  More that with all the government regulation of private enterprise, only a government entity could get away with building something that burns tons of fossil fuels to create a hazardous explosion strong enough to send a group of white males into space.  If NASA had the same EPA regulations as the US private auto industry, we’d eventually have to sell our space shuttle production to Fiat too.

Can only government solve our economy?  That was the claim when Bush bailed out the banks. That was the charge from the Obama administration when they put together the $700 billion dollar pork stimulus bill.  Only the Government could take us to the moon, therefore, only the government can fix the economy.  We weren’t borrowing enough to keep our economy rolling along, so the government borrowed for us.  We weren’t buying enough cars and houses, so the government kept those bubbles artificially inflated through subsidies.  We weren’t getting jobs, so the government took our money and hired a bunch of us on short term government projects (in some cases in districts that don’t even exist).

Can only government make sure everyone is insured?  Why not, only government could make sure that everyone had a decent retirement.  Now our seniors get Social Security and they are no longer the poorest demographic in our country.  Instead, the poorest demographic are young people.  But at least those young people will grow up to have Social Security some day.  Right?

Get ready, the stage is set.  Only government can reduce unemployment.  Already Obama has attacked small businesses for being so greedy that they are not hiring people.  Nevermind that if you hire someone for $12 an hour you will end up paying twice that to cover their Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, unemployment compensation tax, workers comp, and lawsuit when you discriminate against them and fire them for not showing up.

Actually, in this case, only government can reduce unemployment.  They can do that by no longer increasing unemployment.  Unlike a walk on the moon, in many cases hiring more workers can be very profitable.  When the economy is good and people are buying your products, unless you have no profits because you are paying them all in taxes, you are going to invest in a larger workforce.  It’s economics 101.

Unfortunately, the government is not interested in building a strong free economy.  We have a government that runs on the premise that only government can regulate businesses, only government can create jobs, only government can solve a crises, and only government can ensure your healthcare, welfare and retirement.  We have a government that made teens, college students, and veterans as unemployable as convicts and people with massive disabilities by artificially increasing the wage base in every state regardless of that state’s economy.  We have a government that takes 15% of your income straight off the top in order to fund your grandparents retirement.  We have a government that illegally and unconstitutionally favors union bosses in exchange for votes.  And of course we have a government that levies oppressive taxes on small and large businesses so that we can build large rockets and buy billions of dollars worth of fossil fuels to hurl them into space.

Don’t get me wrong.  This is not a critique of NASA.  God knows I appreciate the childhood dreams of seeing the Earth from space, a weightless environment, and wearing one of those cool space suits.  And we have many great technological inventions from our space explorations, such as dried ice cream and the ability to fly nuclear warheads all the way around the world in matters of minutes.  But when it comes to things that have tangible value to our real lives, such as creating jobs, insuring our families, saving for retirement, and borrowing at levels that are in line with our values, I think we should be able to manage such things on our own.

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