GOVERNMENT CHARACTERISTICS, AND FUNDING
By Roland Watson
In addition to its clear and delimited purposes, the government should have a number of other characteristics:
- First, it should be of and for the people, in other words, a democracy, as this is the only form of government that is consistent with the principle of human equality. (The various forms of government will be considered shortly.)
- Secondly, the process of electing the government must ensure that power is transferred fairly and peacefully, from any previously dominant group or party to the new victors. Also, related to this, government must be by consent, not by force.
- Thirdly, the form of the government must be such that its employees, up to and including its head, function as "social servants." They must work for the benefit of the government's customers, the nation's population, and not for their own personal enrichment.
- Fourthly, there should be clear conditions and limitations set on the means by which the government can fund itself.
As governments have grown in size and extended their reach into every sphere of human activity, their need for funding has also expanded exponentially. And such funding, which was originally provided by the spoils of war, is now accumulated through taxation. Furthermore, proof of the argument that governments have overstepped their purpose is the almost universal existence around the world of deficit spending. The natural inclination of government, and its political leaders, is to be involved in - to have power over - everything. And, they do this with your money, but - essentially - without your permission. Even in a democracy, people never vote on the budget. Rather, they elect representatives, which then approve the budget. The people do not have a direct say in this. But, the representatives, once they have obtained power, regularly make funding and spending decisions which conflict with the will of the people, i.e., which satisfy their - the representatives - personal interests and desires.
Government by definition should operate without any deficit. (The only exception to this is in time of war.) This is because government itself does not make a positive economic contribution. It is a non-productive economic sector, existing for the most part only to balance the negative aspects of human nature (including as they are manifested in social form). With few exceptions, government does not supply the products or services that satisfy human needs. Its basic role, that of protection, satisfies a negative need: it does not give us what we want, it only protects us from losing what we have.
As such, its financial requirements must be closely monitored. We should fund all of our defense requirements, including for the new forms of aggression to which we are exposed, particularly corporate exploitation, but nothing else. Whatever functions of the government are not essential to this purpose, and the exceptions described above, should be privatized.
As an example of the implications of this, the U.S. government will be properly funded not when the budget is balanced, but when the budget is balanced, the entire deficit has been repaid, the social security trust has been refunded, and the government itself has been streamlined of all its unnecessary functions. And, the first to go of these should be all of the "corporate welfare" programs that exist, all of the hidden and not so hidden business subsidies that the businesses themselves should pay, and which also serve to bring the interests of business and government together, and against us.
Also, as a side comment, it is ironic that the people who complain the most about the government are usually the people who are upset that it does not solve every problem. Such people want government involvement in everything. Of course, many of these people also complain about high taxes.
© Roland Watson 2016