The title of this article comes from a longer quote that reads as follows:
“Every year, whether the Republican or Democratic Party is in office, more and more power drains away from the individual to feed vast reservoirs in far off places; and we have less and less say about the shape of events which shape our future.”
Fascinating observation and how appropriate for life in America today. Many of us have an uneasy, gnawing feeling that we are no longer the land of the free, free to do as we please and to shape our future and the future of our families as we see fit. For a nation built on the principles of freedom, liberty, and personal responsibility, this is not a healthy condition.
Many people have pointed out the numbing fact that American government, at all levels, confiscates over 30% of our earnings every year through taxes and fees, a confiscation level that:
– Restricts our ability to seek out and pay for the best education for our kids.
– Restricts our ability to expand or start our own business.
– Restricts our ability to contribute to our favorite charities.
– Restricts our ability to live and work where we would like.
– Restricts our ability to spend our hard earned wealth any way we would like.
– Restricts our freedom to live our lives as we see fit, not as some politician sees fit.
Any type of restriction is a hit to our freedom and by taking so much or our spending power in the form of taxes and fees, liberty is restricted to unheardful levels. And what do we get for these restrictions, what “vast reservoirs in faraway places” are the beneficiaries of our restricted freedom? These reservoirs are now deep, diverse, wide spread, and largely ineffective:
– Why do we still spend billions of dollars a year to garrison tens of thousands of U.S. troops in Europe, over twenty years since the Iron Curtain fell?
– Why do we still spend billions of dollars a year to garrison tens of thousands of U.S. troops in Japan, sixty six years after Japan surrendered in World War II and who has been a solid democratic country, a friendly ally, with a strong economy for decades?
– Why do we still spend billions of dollars a year to garrison tens of thousands of U.S. troops in South Korea, a country with one of the strongest economies in the world and which requires mandatory military duty, thus, having more than enough assets to protect itself from North Korea?
– Why do we still spend billions of dollars a year to garrison troops in Iraq, especially since our current President promised, but failed, during his campaign to wind down our military presence in that country?
– Why do we still give away billions of dollars every year to the agriculture industry in this country, the vast majority of which does not go to “family farmers” but ends up in the coffers of the major agricultural corporations, most of which are now enjoying recording breaking profits as world wide demand for American food products increases?
– Why did we spend billions of dollars to bailout auto companies and financial institutions whose sloppy, stupid, short sighted management was punished by the market forces and who deserved the same fate as ill performing companies received in the past: termination.
– Why do we continue to spend billions of dollars a year for various “corporate welfare” initiatives, initiatives that are little more than a re-election campaign donation source for incumbent politicians?
– Why do we continue to spend billions of dollars a year for a mammoth government bureaucracy that is redundant, wasteful, inefficient, and largely ineffective?
– Why have we allowed so much of our wealth and freedom to migrate to far away Washington D.C., a metro area that is now home to seven of the wealthiest counties in the country?
– Why do we continue to spend billions of dollars a year to support dictatorial regimes in faraway places who are faithful to us for as long as we pay for their loyalty, at the expense of freedom and liberty within their own borders?
Why, why, why? In total, the average American receives absolutely no benefit from sending their wealth to “feed vast reservoirs in far off places,” whether these places are in the Far East, the Middle East, Europe, corporate boardrooms, or wherever. The only Americans who benefit are the politicians that control how and how much these reservoirs receive, usually in return for some help in funding their perpetual re-election campaigns.
Thus, our freedom gets a double hit when you think about it. By using our tax dollars to feed these reservoirs, we are less able to live our lives as we see fit to to our reduced economic independence.
Second, we are usually stuck with the same, non-performing politicians since they always have a head start on campaign funding, given their reciprocal arrangements with unions, auto companies, financial institutions, agricultural corporations, etc.: they pay out our taxpayer money via budget processes and earmarks to the reservoirs and the reservoir recipients are more than willing, as proven by campaign fund raising tracking, to return the favor in the form of campaign donations. This reduces our freedom of choice when it comes to our elected representatives..
That is why it is so important do begin reigning in government spending and politicians’ power if we are to drain these vast reservoirs of waste and start to shape events so that we can shape our own futures as we see fit, not as the political class sees fit. This is totally consistent with the insights embedded in the above quote.
By the way, who actually penned the quote above? Was it a member of the Tea Party who realized that government was draining our wealth and our liberty at the same time? Was it a contemporary journalist who recognized what is happening in this country today? Was it a courageous and current politician who understands first hand how wasteful government is today? No, the quote actually comes from William F. Buckley, Jr., and appeared in the November 21, 2010 issue of the Washington Post, but was written ALMOST FIFTY YEARS AGO.
Even back then, the political class and the government it runs was already creating vast reservoirs and diverting our wealth and freedom to those reservoirs. Let us hope that their fifty year head start can still be overcome. If the Egyptian people, with no tradition or history of freedom, can overcome thirty years of oppression where their freedom was diverted into a vast reservoirs of a secret police state, I am sure that with our over two hundred year tradition of freedom we can eliminate our reservoirs that Buckley writes so elegantly about.