The federal behemoth

Our government and our economy are not the same thing

Unquestioned by the news media, President Obama has somehow managed to convince much of the country that the federal government and the American economy are one and the same.

And, ironically, that belief system may make it true. If Americans are fooled into believing that we can improve the economy by taxing the rich and getting more money into the hands of Washington politicians, then at some point in the not-too-distant future, the federal government will be the same as the American economy.

For now, that’s not the case. And the media need to tell that story.

The Obama campaign is pinning its hopes on Americans’ inability to tell the difference between the government and the economy.

They want you to believe that we can get the economy going again if we just tax the rich more. The whole Obama campaign is based on that fallacious bit of class warfare. They want you to believe that your life, and the country, will be better off if upper-income Americans just pay their “fair share.”

Of course, that begs the question: How much is fair? The top 1 percent already pay 37 percent of all federal income taxes. The top 10 percent of earners pay 70 percent of all income taxes.

The top 50 percent of income earners pay 98 percent of the taxes.

So, who again is not paying his fair share?

Perhaps the worst part of this cynical class warfare is the fact that it covers over a fairly pertinent fact: In all this talk of who is and isn’t paying his fair share, no one is asking why. Why does the government need more of our money to begin with?

Shouldn’t the size and scope of the federal government be one of the issues in this election – if not the primary one? When is someone going to question whether the government really needs all that money?

Federal spending is now about 24 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. Historically it’s been about 18 to 20 percent. The national debt has exploded to $16 trillion.

And since January 2008, while private-sector jobs have decreased 4 percent, federal employment actually surged 11 percent.

“America has painted itself into a corner,” Philip K. Howard wrote earlier this year in The Atlantic. “The nation is faced with trillion-dollar deficits, but most political leaders are unwilling to propose real solutions for fear of alienating voters who want it all. ...

“Little has emerged from the campaign season to address the reality that government is unsustainable in its current form.”

It’s only gotten worse since he wrote that last March, and President Obama’s grab-the-pitchforks rhetoric probably hasn’t helped: While a majority of Americans still say in a new Gallup Poll that the government does too much, 39 percent actually say it should do more.

Gallup says rarely has the number of Americans wanting more government been as high.

That’s just nutty. Don’t people see on their televisions what’s happening in Greece and elsewhere in Europe, where government largesse has collapsed economies?

“Worse yet,” says the National Black Chamber of Commerce, “the debt holders are nations such as China, Japan and Saudi Arabia who have no interest in a ‘happy landing’ for our future. Our nation is running on risky business and the future for our children and grandchildren does not look bright at all.”

Yet, selfishly, many people want our government to take even more in foreign cash – money that our children and grandchildren will have to pay back – in order to do more for us now.

And Mr. Obama wants you to believe that not only can he do that, but that feeding the federal behemoth will actually improve the economy too!

While the campaign continues to focus on getting the government more money at any cost, is someone ever going to ask why?

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