Steve Baker makes excellent points. But I take exception with one of his statements. First of all he notes this amazing statistic:
“Two thirds of spending was expected on health, education and welfare, mostly pensions.”
Good Lord, that is quite a revelation! But he goes on to say this:
“The sick and disabled, families, children and pensioners are reliant on these crucial services.”
This is the problem; i.e., that people have come to rely upon government to tax their neighbors to pay for things for which they should be responsible themselves. It makes no sense from an economic or ethical perspective NOT to be responsible for saving for one’s own retirement. It is as if we are all in a giant circle, picking the pocket of the person in front of us. Let’s just stop picking the other guy’s pocket, which will mean that our pocket doesn’t get picked and we are able to take care of ourselves.
I apologize if what I say next sounds cruel, but by what right does anyone have in transferring the costs of his medical problems onto his fellow man through the coercive power of the state? Without the state to pick up the tab, would we not take better care of ourselves and buy appropriate medical insurance? Again, I apologize if this sounds cruel, but even people born with disabilities have no right to the wealth of their more fortunate fellows. And don’t people know that having children is a costly business? Does it come as a surprise that their children must be clothed, housed, fed, educated, etc.? Yet, are not the sacrifices more than compensated by the wonderful benefits from having children, especially in one’s older years? Why must the costs of raising children be transferred onto the backs of one’s fellow man, all transfers conducted coercively by the state, of course. All this socialization of the normal trials of life have not made us healthier, happier, or more generous with our fellows. It has done the opposite.
We have placed the proper role of government upside down. Baker states this at the beginning:
“Defence, criminal justice, local government and the Foreign Office have been squeezed.”
Incredible! These services ARE the proper role of government. Don’t listen to me. Just read John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, and Frederic Bastiat. We are abandoning the most important and ethically justifiable roles of government to fund so-call services that government does badly and without ethical justification. The modern welfare state has failed. And just as importantly, it has crowded out the true role of government. Patrick Barron