It is an indisputable fact that money and political power go hand in hand. The two are inseparably interdependent, feeding one on the other. As more money concentrates in government, so does more power. As more power concentrates in government, so does more money. Eventually, however, this government power outstrips money, and the money runs out. This is how civilizations have always come to an end.
It’s also indisputably true that the more government you have, the more costly that government will be. We’ve reached a point where our government spends so much that our deficit ($779 billion) is more than the 2017 GDPs of countries like Saudia Arabia ($683 billion), Sweden ($538 billion), and Switzerland ($678 billion). If our accumulated national debt were a country, at over $21 trillion, it would be the largest economy on Earth.
In 2018 alone, the United States government cost Americans over $4 trillion, more than the entire 2017 GDP of Germany ($3.67 trillion). If we accept the assertion that money and political power are correlated, then exactly how much power does that translate into. How big is a government larger than productive power of every building, every car, every road, every home and every business in the largest national economy in Europe?
The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.
– Margaret Thatcher
So how do alleged proponents of “limited government” philosophy rectify our political ideology with the government as it exists today? Very simply, we can’t. Conservatives can no more justify our government as it is today, spending more than major European countries and overspending by major Middle Eastern countries, than a committed vegetarian could morally justify aggressive cannibalism.
So what is the philosophical path out of this mess? Do we actually believe that there’s a place to start whittling down to a reasonable amount? Just for example, to get the government back down to $1.00 trillion, a level not seen since Ronald Reagan was president 30 years ago (inflation not withstanding), would require a 75% reduction in the entire cost of government.
If we took the budget cut that Barack Obama touted as the biggest budget cut in US history back in 2011, $38.5 billion, and cut the current federal budget by that amount every single year, it would take 78 years to cut the federal budget back down to an annual budget of $1.0 trillion. This would require that Washington politicians retain the political will to make these cuts for 39 consecutive Congresses. That’s preposterous.
Government is not a solution to our problem. Government is the problem.
– Ronald Reagan
We can barely get Washington to retain the political will to do anything consistently for more than a few months, how do we conservatives expect it to do so over the course of two generations? We can’t. Unfortunately, we are very late in the game as far as the federal debt is concerned, and it’s clear that the American people fundamentally lack the will to do what is necessary to get our government’s spending under control.
We’re at the point that two things must happen. First, America is going to lose its status as the reserve currency, because that is what has made it feasible for our politicians to spend us to into this debt hole in the first place. Second, in the aftermath, which, make no mistake, will be devastating for Americans, conservatives will have to simultaneously hold society together and recultivate the virtue of governmental frugality in America.
The first of these two things is becoming increasingly inevitable, especially if there is a serious financial crisis in the United States again, because it would necessarily precipitate yet another budgetary crisis. As for the second? We have a very long way to go indeed.
Liberty is For The Win!