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Change. Right.
Marc Solomon

“Change.  Right.”

Change. That's the magic word this year.  If we only had change, then everything would get better.  Certainly if we want change, are we willing to say what change is?

Wouldn't it be something to find out that you are getting the opposite? No matter which one of the two “legitimate” candidates you voted for  (hint: there are other choices)?

The problem with the word “change” is that without the knowledge of “from what”  “to what”  “how” and “when,” it is completely meaningless. 

Yet real change is not something most people can handle.  It's understandable at the base level of our psychology. The human mind is inherently suspicious of anything different.  It doesn't matter how bad things are, change could mean something even worse.  We can get used to anything. Even if we are starving in a cold, dark cave, any new thoughts or actions could mean something worse.   That’s what those in power depend on.

OK, but things right now are pretty bad, darn it. Just in case we forget:  high gas prices, high taxes, all sorts of wars against a whole bunch of “things,” fought by both soldiers and cops, diminishing domestic jobs, increasing deficit, higher costs of health care, reduced personal rights, increased government spying on citizens, restricted freedom of speech, government regulations strangling business and at the same time failing to protect civil liberties or the environment, government corruption, failure of the government to stop, charge or punish anyone in the government for corruption or abuse of powers, devaluation of the dollar, sales of businesses and real estate to foreign interests.

Needs fixing, right?  The political solution: Let's have some change.  Let’s change what the Government does to “fix” these problems.   Because that’s the only choice. Not you, your neighbors, your community, your state.  Just those wise folks in the big ol' federal empire.  You can't be trusted.

Here's another idea about change:  Let's stop using the government, and its power to coerce (with guns and jails), as an excuse to why things don't get better.  How about the novel change in perspective that maybe government is the cause of the problems.

If the only change we demand is that the government does the changing, then expect more of the same, but worse.  Much worse. The only change in government that would actually improve anything is to be smaller and do less. Like, go back to the legal boundaries set forth in the Constitution. 

Why is the government, and not the individual to be trusted?  How about that old line, “ capitalism and the free market doesn't take care of people. It can't be trusted!  People will starve!”

But we do not have a free market—and we haven’t for around 90 years. What we have is a plutocracy clothed in the feel-good garb of socialism:  Rule by the rich while the poor (and everyone else) gives them the power to do so.  Every action by an invasive, non-constitutional government will only make the rich richer.  As long as it illegally wields arbitrary power to extract and reassign wealth, the middlemen will get their cut.  Government is not Robin Hood, it is Tony Soprano.

We don't trust others – and we don't trust ourselves – therefore no one is to be trusted. Wait a second, isn't the Government made of “others”?  So why are they more trustable?  We certainly can't imagine a government official being corrupted, let along incompetent.

Have we already forgotten the pathetic mess left behind in the former Soviet Union and the eastern European bloc?  The joys and successes of centrally-planned economies?  The workers paradises?  The pollution? Are you kidding?

Is the American version of socialism supposed to be better?  Are we not the same species as the other side of the world? Drawing from the wise words of the dearly missed Harry Browne (1933-2006), let us recall Why Government Doesn't Work.

Education:
Learning, as measured by Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores, steadily declined throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Yet spending increased (in stable dollars) per student two orders of magnitude (that's 100 times for the math-challenged people) throughout the 20th century.

Health Care:
Health care costs for the elderly doubled from 1961 to 1991. The Government tells us this is due to doctors, hospitals, and drug companies charging too much — not that Medicare inflated costs by running up demand limiting the supply.  The government controls over 50% of the money spent on medical care, but the high price is due, according to then, the “failure of the free market.”

Poverty:
Poverty programs don’t reduce the number of poor people. Mechanical application of policies by inured government workers removes responsibility and judgment from the process. Some don't live well, some drive Cadillacs.  Charity has human dimension, and cannot be dispensed by a machine. Lyndon B. Johnson, while starting the first “War on Poverty “ in 1964, said, “The days of the dole in this country are numbered.”  Oops. To be fair, being poor in the remains of a capitalist culture isn't so bad.  According to a 2004 study cited by the Heritage Foundation:

The living conditions of persons defined as poor by the government bear little resemblance to notions of “poverty” held by the general public. If poverty is defined as lacking adequate nutritious food for one's family, a reasonably warm and dry apartment to live in, or a car with which to get to work when one is needed, then there are relatively few poor persons remaining in the United States. Real material hardship does occur, but it is limited in scope and severity.

Are there still those suffering in America?  Of course.  We, as caring individuals and communities, can always do better.  In an overtaxed culture, however, the withdrawal of charitable impulse is expected, understandable.  Yet in America, in the place of greedy self-centered people who cannot be trusted, the Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey in 2006 concluded that “people who oppose government income redistribution donate four times as much money each year as do redistribution supporters”.  Allow me to translate: Those of you who don't trust their fellows say “Let the government steal from someone else, not me.”

Drugs:
This is hopefully obvious to our beloved liberal readership, but the only problem with drugs is that they are illegal.  No illegality, no resultant crime, just personal choice. The War on Drugs makes drugs more profitable due to scarcity and risk.  Let's not forget the corruption that results.  Prosecution of the fake war has given the government (at all levels) leave to create over 100 forfeiture laws to line their coffers, even if you are never convicted or brought to trial.  Sorry about that.

Crime:
According to our own Justice department in 2006, we have incarcerated more people than any other country, including China.   One quarter was for drug-related (mostly possession) crimes. The result has been overcrowding and release of violent felons, who are actually threats to OTHERS BESIDE themselves. With the advent of the federal war on crime, from 1960 to 1992, the violent crime rate increased by 373%, and the overall crime rate increased by 403%.

Privacy:
Let's not go there, but remember to thank Senator Obama and the rest of the Democratic party controlled congress for protecting illegal surveillance of you in the FISA bill.

War (in Newspeak its called “Terrorism”):
War continues to be the best and greatest excuse for more government, more spending, and loss of liberties.  Thanks to the two big parties for wanting to keep that going forever.  But we did find Bin Ladin's driver and convict him of being a driver.  You want Bin Ladin dead?  The Constitution offers the President the option of Letters of Marque and Retribution.  A simple bounty, not thousands more lives, would bring us his head.

What does all this lousy Government cost us? At least 48% of the national income — more than the despots of the Middle Ages demanded from their peasants.  From:

  • Federal income tax.
  • Social Security taxes.
  • Federal excise taxes, gasoline taxes, tariffs (read your phone bill sometime)
  • State and local taxes on income, sales, and property.
  • Prices on things you buy and services you get cost more because those producers pay income taxes and excise tariffs.
  • You get paid less because your employer pays a share of Social Security for you, on top of what you already paid.

Audience participation time. Which would you prefer?

FEDEX or USPS?
DMV or the Auto Club?
Airport security run by the airlines or the TSA?
Hometown doctor or Federally-controlled HMO?
Local school control or guidelines from the Department of Education
Charity or the IRS?
Civil defense by FEMA or our neighbors? Those who rushed to help Katrina victims were not compelled by law to help, they just went.  What went wrong?  The government got in the way. 

The only solution we are offered for the failings of government is more government.  This year’s Change is more government, but different?  How?  Same people, same system, same results. Change?  Are you kidding?

Why are only individuals are to blame for any social problem, yet governments must be forgiven every atrocity? Let's not forget what government is truly best at doing  In 1986 (but who's counting Iraq yet), the Wall Street Journal ran the story that 119 million people had been killed by their own governments in the 20th century.  Almost of the immigrants to these shores, except for those in chains, came originally to escape governments or participate in a nation of free commerce and opportunity.  I don't recall our Government being the big draw.   (Maybe with the welfare state?)

Government of every shade and stripe has had its chance.  Human history is conclusive.  Any “change” in government, except reducing it drastically, is not change at all.  That was America, you see, the real change in the world.

Obama/McCain represent the same failed system that took America from being the beacon of freedom and opportunity to an imperialistic, xenophobic, and totalitarian police state.

It is our fault, and we can change it.

How much government is justified? Read the Constitution. 

So let's have some real change.  By the way, there will be a choice for that, named Bob Barr (L), on your ballot.  Put up or shut up.