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Politicians' Public Service Often Creates Public Suffering

March 14, 2013 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

California Democrat Pete Stark finished 40 years in Congress in January. The 81-year-old proclaimed himself pleased with the half of his life spent in “public service” on Capitol Hill, yet the public has suffered disastrously from his efforts allegedly on its behalf.

Federal spending, deficits and debt have skyrocketed. The U.S. has engaged in endless, bloody and unnecessary wars.

Entitlement programs have exploded out of control, threatening America’s financial future.

The wasteful burden of inefficient regulation has climbed as job creation has stalled. The war on drugs has morphed into nanny-state regulation of cigarette smoking and soda drinking.

The U.S. has become a society in which public bailouts and liability judgments reward those who fail.

Washington has trouble delivering the mail but has taken control of the health care system.

Politicians are a necessary evil because government is a necessary evil. But Big Government is not necessary.”

People are still judged by the color of their skin rather than the content of their character, most often at the direction of government. People who once believed in a future of infinite possibilities now fear permanent decline.

Representative Stark was not directly responsible for all of these outcomes. He may even have opposed one or two of them.

But as a congressman he consistently promoted ever bigger government as the solution to every problem.

Is someone somewhere in need of something? Create a new government program, preferably in Washington. Tax or borrow, but always spend and regulate.

Yet he genuinely imagined himself as a crusader on horseback for the rest of us. He told NPR that he was going to miss getting up in the morning and looking into the mirror and saying: “ ‘Hey, I’m going to do something today that’s going to make life better for somebody.’ And that’s pretty neat.”

He contrasted that to his time as a banker when he got up and said: “ ‘Whose car am I going to repossess’ or ‘Whose house am I going to foreclose?’”

George Mason University’s Don Boudreaux makes the obvious point that if that’s what Stark did at his bank, then he was a lousy banker.

He should have been saying what family can I enable to buy a home which they can afford, and pay back the bank?

What entrepreneur can I fund to serve the public and make a profit? What new way can I serve people in order to enable the bank to make money?

In fact, if …read more
Source: OP-EDS

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