Friday, August 10, 2012

Do you believe in Big Government?

Here is a simple test.  Add up the number of times you say yes, to get your score (be honest).
  1. Do you like the idea of belonging to a Home Owners Association?  
  2. Do you think the government should be able to track who owns guns?
  3. Do you think the government should be able to stop people from having an abortion?
  4. Do you think the government should be able to stop gays from getting married?
  5. Do you trust the police to handle political protest people whose politics are out of favor - communists, neo-nazis, hippies, whatever?
  6. Do you think America still needs nuclear powered aircraft carriers, nuclear powered submarines, stealth aircraft, and must maintain it's nuclear missiles?
  7. Do you think we need to maintain some form of Social Security and Medicare?
  8. Do you think we must control inflation?
  9. Do you think that the marijuana should continue to be illegal?
  10. Do you think that people (including children and the elderly) should be forced to endure humiliating strip searches - whether electronic or physical as a matter of course when boarding an airplane?
  11. Do you think that students should get government guaranteed loans to go to for-profit schools (beauty schools, mechanic schools, etc.)  where 2/3 of the alumni can not pay back their loans?
Each and every time you answered yes, you voted for Big Government.  I personally only answered yes to three of those questions - #2, #6 and #7.  The right to own a weapon is not the right to own one secretly.  The government needs to know who has the guns, and should be able to stop criminals and psychotics from buying them.  Similarly, we need a strong military, even if it is expensive, and we need Social Security and Medicare.

Home Owners Associations are all about adding another level of government to your life.   They stop you from selling your home, from putting too many flowers in the garden, from building a fence, from putting up Christmas lights, all without any due process.   If you are foolish enough to want to live in one (that includes co-ops), then you have no right to complain at all about Big Government.

Tracking guns is an obvious big government action.  While it can be used to prevent (and investigate) crime - a totally legitimate and necessary law, it also means the government knows who can resist them, should it turn evil.

Abortion laws are all about big government.   There is reasonable doubt about it being murder.  We have no scientific proof about when embryos develop sentience, it is still a religious issue.  But we have religious freedom in this country so you can't use your religious beliefs to write a law.   Jews may think fruit trees are holy, but that doesn't mean the federal government can arrest and charge a christian for cutting one down.   When you use your religion to decided if an embryo has rights, you are pushing your religion on other people, something that directly violates my religion, and is big government.

The religious fanatics might be right, but they can't charge people if they can't prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, so they can't use our courts to enforce their beliefs.  (P.S. They are wrong.  Doctors have shown that over 75% of fertilized human eggs miscarry - mostly in the first two weeks. Any god that murders 75% of souls he creates before birth is not worth worshiping.  God is good, therefore embryos don't get souls at inception.)

In the United States, marriage is a legal contract, not a religious matter.  You get treated differently by the IRS, have specific legal rights when it ends (divorce and death), and get special legal consideration all over the place.   Worse, I have the freedom of religion.  That means I can worship any God I want - including one that DEMANDS gays marry.    In this country you are legally forbidden from tell me what God wants as a basis for laws.  You need to found your laws on non-religious principles, even if you are right.

If you don't like this situation, the proper thing to do is to remove all legal rights of being married.  Drop all references to husband or wife in the laws (divorce just got a lot cheaper - but a lot less fair).  Have husbands and wives sign wills, medical treatment contracts, and incorporation for tax purposes, just like gays have to.  Oh, and throw out all the corporate benefits for husbands and wives (health care, insurance, etc. etc.)

One of the easiest way to detect big government is how it treats it's enemies. The whole reason we dislike big government is that it will mistreat the people out of political favor.   If you think government can be trusted not to mistreat the people they dislike, then you like big government.  If you think the government can't be trusted with the people the government dislikes, then you don't trust big government.

The US spends more on the military than almost all the other countries in the world combined.   Most of it is on the big ticket items I mentioned.   If your country spends more on something than the rest of the world combined, that's Big Government.

Aside from defense, our next biggest expenses are Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  Social Security and Medicare alone are more than the Defense Department.  If we continue to spend even half those amounts, it is Big Government.

When the government tries to control inflation, it is attempting to manipulate a huge amount of financial transactions.  In effect, you are saying the government should screw around with every single mortgage, every single bank, every single credit card, etc. etc.  Big Government.

Marijuana is a drug that by any reasonable standard is safer than alcohol.  When you abuse it you lose focus and get unmotivated.  You are less likely to do anything but sit back, watch TV and eat.   Alcohol on the other hand plays an important roll in a huge number of fights, car accidents, and other crimes - including rape.  About 1/3 of convicted criminals were drunk at the time they committed the crime. (Source)  If prohibition was an example of Big Government going too far, than the marijuana ban is also.    I'm not saying we should legalize it - but if you want it illegal, then you like Big Government.

Government search without a warrant is an obvious Big Government idea.  It's part of the Constitution for a reason.

Lastly, the for-profit colleges are outright stealing money from the government.  The Department of education had three simple rules they wanted all colleges (public or private) to meet:  (Source)

  • At least 35% of the former students must be paying their own loans back by at least $1 a month
  • The average graduate's loan payments can not exceed 30% of their income
  • The average graduate's loan payment can not exceed 12% of their earnings
Please note they wanted at least 35 % of their students to pay it back.  That's not a typo.  If it were upto me, it would be 85%.  It's a loan, not a gift.

Five percent of university programs fail to meet all three.   All of those programs are for-profit.  Of the for-profit programs, only 35% of them met all three qualifications.  Obama tried to stop paying them for overcharging students for what minimal training they offered.  But the schools lobbied to get those rules watered down.  The schools won.  Where were the 'small government' people then?  

Net Net, if you answered 'yes' to four or more of those questions, you are in favor of Big Government.  Because this liberal only said yes to three of them.

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