Dependency Will Destroy Our Republic
Yesterday, The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis Director, Bill Beach, presented at The Heritage Foundation’s weekly Bloggers Briefing. Unfortunately, I was a few minutes late, but the gist of Mr. Beach’s presentation was that the seventh annual Dependency on Government Index shows that this country is increasingly dependent on government. See a primer Mr. Beach wrote for The Foundry here, and the full report here.
I had seen the primer last week, and was confused as to why Beach had written the following:
Most disturbing of all, all of the evidence points to even more rapid increases in dependency ahead, which well could threaten democratic government.
No, of course dependency on government is not good, but if we don’t necessarily correlate dependency with government control- though, of course, they generally go hand-in-hand- how does that destroy the (as Beach put it) democratic underpinnings of our republic?
Beach’s answer was simple (if paraphrased for this post): in order to have a functioning civil society and republic, there had to be an appropriate separation between the public and the private. It made a lot of sense, though admittedly it was more profound when he said it than when I typed it.
The core of Beach’s presentation was terrifying. Not only are we going into incredible debt, we are not solving the entitlement issues so crucial to erasing that debt over time. Add private sector subsidies and bailouts, military overspending, welfare programs etc. we have a perfect storm. As Beach put it, we have 40% of taxpayers not paying taxes. These people vote on how federal money is spent, but have no skin in the game.
Solutions offered by Beach: stop expanding the programs that exist (including making them more efficient); tax reform through expanding the tax base by encouraging fewer taxes paid by each person but more people included in the tax system (thus, with more people having skin in the game, more people will watch how the programs work); and Congress needs to get control of mandatory spending. Other, side solutions include generally living within our means (government-wise) and holding down inflation.
The presentation can be heard here. I think Beach does an excellent job of talking about conservative policy principles as well as showing how conservative philosophical principles will help on the humanitarian level more than dependency programs. I encourage everyone to listen to Beach’s presentation by clicking on the Blog Radio on the top right of the page. It is the first presentation of the Briefing, so just hit play and enjoy. Or, rather, don’t enjoy, but be inspired to step up and become part of the solution.