Government has no wealth of its own. Before it gives anything to anyone, it must take from those who produced it. But the taking could discourage future production, leaving less to be distributed by the politicians. Productive Americans have forged ahead despite a constellation of transfer programs, but how long will they continue to do so?
The European welfare states are learning that producers don't leave themselves available for milking forever. Their economies are sluggish, and unemployment is high. Government promises exceed resources, and citizens who were guaranteed lifelong security find their benefits shrinking.
Yet this doesn't deter our champions of big government. Even the coming Social Security and Medicare train wrecks don't faze them . So don't expect government to stop growing. The Washington Post reports ominously: "In the four months since the midterm elections, the number of new lobbyist registrations has nearly doubled to 2,232 from 1,222 in the comparable period a year earlier."
The lobbyists go where the money and the power is.
Thomas Jefferson said, "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground."
It's sad that that's no myth.
John Stossel is co-anchor of ABC News' "20/20" and the author of "Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel -- Why Everything You Know is Wrong," which is now available in paperback. To find out more about John Stossel and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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