GSA and The Decline and Fall of the American Empire

by | Apr 22, 2012

Politicians love to talk about fairness. What is fair about robbing from some to redistribute to others?

All this ruckus about the GSA scandal makes no sense to me. Federal employees spent thousands of dollars on trips to Hawaii and Las Vegas.

Why is anyone surprised?

Government practices legalized plunder every day. Money is forcibly taken from the fifty percent of the population who do pay taxes and spreads it among special interest groups, politicians, government employees who will never lose their jobs, and others the government deems deserving. They do this in the trillions of dollars. What’s a Hawaii trip or two compared to that?

Frenchman Frederic Bastiat, the brilliant author of “The Law,” understood this two centuries ago.

He wrote: “Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”

Bastiat also wrote: “Legal plunder can be committed in an infinite number of ways. Thus we have an infinite number of plans for organizing

it: tariffs, protection, benefits, subsidies, encouragements, progressive taxation, public schools, guaranteed jobs, guaranteed profits, minimum wages, a right to relief, a right to the tools of labor, free credit, and so on, and so on. All these plans as a whole—with their common aim of legal plunder—constitute socialism.

But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.”

It’s as simple as that.

Calling government as we know it “legalized plunder” makes liberals literally crazy with rage. And it doesn’t make you too popular with Big Government Republicans, either. But there’s no escaping the logic, combined with the factual honesty, of what Bastiat wrote. What he wrote was true back then, is true now, and will always be true.

You can’t turn government into a redistributor of wealth. Once you do, you declare war on any notion of morality and justice. Nobody has any business being shocked or surprised when lesser government officials merely act on the same principle as the President, members of Congress, and even the Supreme Court. When the highest elected or appointed leaders in the land fail to enforce the sovereignty of the individual over the State on a daily basis, then why on earth should some two-bit government official pass up a free ride to Vegas or Hawaii?

Republicans in Congress see this scandal as an opportunity to show that they are against Big Government. Where were they during all the years of the George W. Bush Administration when they controlled Congress and the White House? During that time, the federal government spent record amounts on programs not authorized by the Constitution. They expanded federal control of public education and expanded Medicare, expenditures they had previously opposed. Maybe this spending seems minor compared to the incomprehensible fiscal recklessness that has followed under Obama.

But Republicans paved the way by outdoing the previous big spending of the Democrats. By abandoning what they claimed were their principles, they contributed just as much to the mess today as those who are in charge now.

The problem is deeper than Republicans or Democrats. These fools we now have in power, in both parties, are simply doing what voters keep authorizing them to do. The vast majority of Americans authorize more and more spending, while that same vast majority of Americans keep complaining about the consequences. “Don’t cut that program. Don’t cut that one either. But DO balance the budget — and now!” This is the message the majority of Americans keep sending in election after election. When they want more spending, they vote Democratic. When they want fiscal restraint, they vote Republican. They will get fiscal restraint from neither party. Why? Because they keep allowing (i.e., demanding) the legalized plunder that our government and “democracy” have become.

The only solution is to stop the plunder. At a minimum, we need a Constitutional amendment to end all spending not authorized by the Constitution. At present, nobody wants to do this. If a politician running for office quoted Frederic Bastiat, he or she would be driven off the stage with catcalls and boos. But sooner or later, the truth must be faced. However it climaxes, the spending spree and unsustainable debt of today’s federal government will not end well.

Politicians love to talk about fairness. What is fair about robbing from some to redistribute to others? And don’t give me that b.s. about “the poor.” Most of the redistribution goes to pressure groups: Corporations, “green” industries, the elderly, the disabled, children, ethnic minority organizations, you name it. In fact, just about everybody is a special interest group these days.

Anybody who wants to help the poor is free to help the poor, through voluntary charity, any day of the week. Millions already do. We don’t need trillions upon trillions of dollars in legalized plunder in order to help the poor. If there were that many poor people, there would be no money to redistribute in the first place!

You’ve heard the saying: Power corrupts. Look at absolutely anything that goes on in Washington DC, from either side of the aisle, and ask yourself if this is not corruption on a scale befitting the fall of the Roman Empire. There are probably hundreds of GSA scandals going on every day of every year, in a federal government based on the business of spending other people’s money.

As the old saying goes, “The fish rots from the head down.” If you’re wondering why we have a GSA scandal, look no further than the very top of the government.

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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