While our Republican General Assembly members forfeit the principles outlined in their party’s platform and jump on the latest gambling-expansion-for-revenues scheme, the age-old struggle to contain the size of government suffers another setback.
One of the greatest ongoing challenges facing legislators has been summed up many times, including by writers in previous centuries. In the first half of the nineteenth century Frederic Bastiat wrote in his book “The Law” about the problem that results from those who wish to live at the expense of others:
And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty…
A couple years ago, Steve Malanga wrote “The New New Left – How American Politics Works Today.” According to one reviewer:
A new dynamic has sprung up in American politics today: the contest between those who benefit from an ever-expanding public sector and those who pay for this bigger government—in other words, it’s the tax eaters vs. the taxpayers.
More recently, author Brian Tracy wrote “Something for Nothing.” He opens his introduction with a quote from Thomas Jefferson:
The worst day of a man’s life is when he sits down and begins thinking about how he can get something for nothing.
In his chapter on Government, Politics, and Power, Tracy outlines what amounts to an explanation of why the “tax eaters” (our words) have the advantage:
To get elected…politicians often abandon ideas they have espoused all their lives… Once they get into office, the politician finds himself in league with other politicians of his party, and often with members of the other party, all who have promised rewards and favors to the people who elected them.
None of this is earth shattering or new. It’s just one more person saying what I’m saying. Tracy adds:
The honest politician works to allow individuals to keep more of their hard-earned money and to reduce the number of people caught in the trap of government dependency. The good politician does everything possible to protect the private citizen or corporation against the free money crazies that get elected to power.
Therein lies the path to victory in the struggle against the taxeaters. Note the term “good politician.” Illinois needs a few of those.