Over at Marketwatch, Rex Nutting lists “The 10 best things government has done for us“:
- Protecting our freedoms
- Giving away the land
- Educating everybody
- Helping us retire with dignity
- Improving public health
- Building our transportation networks
- Investing in communications
- Building our energy supply
- Inventing the future
- Defeating totalitarianism
Yet, Nutting writes that “everyone knows that the government can do a lot to create the right conditions for prosperity” and “Our democratic government — along with you, me and our ancestors — created the conditions that have allowed private citizens and companies to build a great nation.” But many of these are simply government handouts–redistribution of wealth–not the creation of conditions.
Did we really want the government to give away land? (I write about this very issue in Angry Mobs and Founding Fathers.) Funny, now the government takes land away from private individuals instead of giving it to them.
And why should the government invest in the future, building our energy supply, invest in communications, build our transportation networks (I also write about this in Angry Mobs and Founding Fathers), etc.? Aren’t those the domain of private enterprise?
But why shouldn’t the government provide these free goods and services to us? Yes, I said FREE! Because the author, Rex Nutting, not once mentions taxes. He fails to mention that the resources used by the government to do these things took resources away from the private economy, which would have made use of them to provide the same or different goods and services to us.
Thus, Mr. Nutting provides us with just half the picture, and a distorted half at that.