Ruling Through Talking Points
Many politicos begin debate positions regarding Medicare and Social Security with the phrase “the government promised” or “government promises”. Other politicos begin debate propositions regarding Medicaid, welfare, food Stamps, and unemployment benefits with the phase “social safety net”.
What About Those Talking Points?
First and foremost, as pointed out long ago by Milton Friedman, government does not think, discuss, nor take action. Politicos through the mechanism of government think, discuss and take action. Hence government does not promise. Only politicos promise.
Next we have the proposition of the “social safety net”. There is a massive difference between a social safety net based upon the collectivist welfare state and the social safety net proposition being based upon a temporary nonrecurring stop gap measure.
Politico Promises, The Mechanism of Government, Political Time Horizons, Dependency Politics, and Other Peoples’ Money
One must explore the politico argument based upon required, needed, and necessary in relation to politico promises delivered through the mechanism of government based upon the welfare state dependency proposition. The politico proposition of required, needed and necessary is related to the concept of spend then tax. It is also very much related to politico promises made through the mechanism of government in conjunction with short term politico election time horizons. Finally the proposition does have an insidious long term politico horizon of developing a dependent constituency, through the use of other peoples’ money, that perpetuates the politico class aka ruling class.
Politico Promises through the Mechanism of Government
The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not. - Thomas Jefferson
Politicos have long known that they can promise one group that poses a special political interest a benefit by extracting value from a highly diffused group of tax payers. One dollar from a million tax payers, taxpayers that will not lobby against a one dollar tax increase, can then be easily bestowed upon a group that is of special political interest to the politico or group of politicos. Hence we immediately create the politico promise by means of the government mechanism by merely having the mechanism of government extract tax and have the mechanism of government bestow a benefit elsewhere.
Politico Time Horizons
Politicos have a very short political time horizon which is known as the next election. Three basic strategies present themselves to politicos in relation to their short term political time horizon: (a) exactly what well organized political constituency [rent seekers] can be bestowed a benefit that will result in votes, campaign contributions, and campaign volunteers? (b) what prior politico produced dependency group can be framed as though the politico is protecting or enhancing the group all the while to gain votes [prior politicos producing a dependency groups for current and future politicos], (c) create a new dependency group.
Since the politico’s political time horizon is short, any promises must have an immediate effect to fit the short time horizon. Hence long run cascading economic unintended consequences of politico promises are of no interest to the politico as short term first stage economic consequences are the quest. One might go on to say that the politico has no real interest in the benefits or costs of such promises to the affected recipients or taxpayers financing such a plan, the only benefit of interest is to the politico is votes leading to election or re-election.
Dependency Politics and Other Peoples’ Money
Politicos long ago discovered the ability to generate dependency constituency by promising other peoples’ money. Stated alternatively, through notional propositions and verbal virtuosity the redistribution of income and wealth are championed by politicos to help the have-nots and build a vibrant middle class. However, the redistribution of income and wealth has nothing to do with helping or building. Rather, redistribution of income and wealth is merely a spending conduit for politicos. Stated alternatively, politicos need other peoples’ money in order to finance spending promises.
With the spending conduit in place politicos coercively, through the mechanism of government, take monies from one group and promise the monies to another group. The receiving group, known as the recipient class, is given the money based on two concepts: (1) build a government bureaucracy to distribute the money hence creating a dependent bureaucracy [employment-dependent and hence politico-dependent upon the continuation of the promise to distribute to the recipient class], (2) a recipient class that grows dependent on the promised money and hence dependent upon the continuation of the promise. The politico then creates two dependent political constituency groups.
The Required, the Needed, and the Necessary
The summation of politico promises past and present are now framed as required, needed, and necessary. Speeches, rallies, commercials, and essays are presented regarding the dire need for the promises. That the promises are required, needed, and necessary or else ominous consequences await.
In essence the required, need, and necessary politico argument is really an argument for the continuation of the politicos’ exercise in political constituency building with other peoples’ money. The dire and ominous consequences are in fact the particular politico or group of politicos defeat at the polls as the end of the spending means the end of the promise leading to the end of the political constituency purchased though other peoples’ money.
James and Jane Goodfellow and John and Jane Q. Public have long complained that politicians are crooks. What the Goodfellow’s and the Public’s need to do is finish the thought and confess they have been systematically duped.
The state is the great fiction by which everybody seeks to live at the expense of everybody else. - Frederic Bastiat, 1850.