I was perusing the Internet a while back and visited the Web site for the Democratic Party — obviously not because I wanted to donate money, although they did have a pop-up asking for it. One of the first things I noticed was a section called “The Bush Record in Your State.” I clicked on the link for his record in Florida and was amazed at what I saw.
In the file I downloaded was a list of things that the Democrats apparently believe President George W. Bush is responsible for. The only problem is that he’s not really responsible for much of it.
The items on the list included: “87,173 Florida Workers Have Become Unemployed since Bush took Office,” “41,900 Florida workers have lost their unemployment benefits since January 2004” and “2,843,000 Florida residents have no health insurance.” One claim particularly interesting to college students was “Nationally, college tuition skyrocketing.”
Let’s dissect these claims, not based on their truth-value, but rather on their relevance to government action:
First, the fact that anyone — besides government workers — has lost their job since Bush came into office can’t be directly tied to Bush or any other politician. It’s more closely tied to the free-enterprise system than the government. Things change, the economy swings up and down, technology increases and some people lose their jobs.
The degree to which any politician can influence the economy is dependant on many factors, not the least of which are unforeseen occurrences, like say, terrorist attacks. In any event, if the government were set up the way our founders wanted, politicians would have very little to no effect at all on who loses or gains a job.
Second, ask yourself what unemployment benefits are. They are benefits that the government demands private companies pay. At some point, the generosity of the companies — albeit forced generosity — has to stop. Are the Democrats suggesting that companies should be forced to pay their laid-off employees indefinitely?
Third, where in the Constitution does it say that citizens have a right to health insurance? It doesn’t. That’s another area that government should not be responsible for. Why? Because providing that health insurance means somehow taking money from someone else.
And fourth, where in the Constitution does it say that citizens have a right to cheap college tuition? Again, it doesn’t. It seems to me that we college students should be glad that the government, largely through taxpayer money, is willing to pay for any of our college tuition to begin with.
The point about government’s role in people’s lives is that it should be limited. But limited government is almost anathema to liberals.
I’ve received feedback on my columns over the past few weeks that has suggested in one way or another that politicians are to blame when people lose their jobs or don’t have things such as health insurance. Sadly, several people believe that to be true.
The government, if it lives up to its originally intended functions, should not be in the position of getting people jobs or providing them with health insurance, because such actions would mean that someone else besides the beneficiary would have to forcibly cough up money. That burden usually goes to taxpayers and private companies.
People who believe the government should provide such things to them are often guilty of voting based on the size of their wallet at the expense of higher values such as freedom and personal responsibility. In several cases, it’s a somewhat selfish way to vote. It’s selfish because it suggests voters either do not grasp or just don’t care about the concept that the government providing such benefits would mean that someone else would have to pay for them.
Don’t worry so much when politicians don’t do anything to provide you with a job, cheaper health care or cheaper college tuition. Worry more when they actually have the power to provide you with those things by restricting some element of freedom.
As a saying that I recently read goes, “A government that’s big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you’ve got.”
Adam Fowler is a senior majoring in political science. firstname.lastname@example.org