More Government by Gregg Motley

More Government


It is a commonly held belief amongst 21st Century Americans that people are basically good, but the facts on the ground deny that assumption.  No one would dispute that a child not only needs help with the activities of daily living, but also needs consistent guidance in order to successfully transition into productive adulthood.  Our various levels of government are necessary to maintain a civil society; otherwise, we would devolve into chaos.


Statistically, we have much more government involvement in our lives since I was born in the 1950’s.  Government spending is a much higher percentage of Gross National Product, and many huge government agencies at all levels have come into existence since my youth.  There were no “Great Society” programs, no Medicare, no Obama Care, and six Presidential Cabinet level positions have been created: Housing and Urban Development, Education, Transportation, Energy, Veteran Affairs and Homeland Security.  Federal tax rates on families in 1960 were 3% on the first $4,800.00 earned.  Now, Social Security and Medicare taxes alone are more than double that, even before any income taxes are collected.


Why has government exploded with growth?  Let me propose two main causes: first, the moral decline of Americans necessitating more government intervention in our lives. As noted by John Adams, “Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” I believe recent trends are proving his point.


One does not have to dive too deeply into the statistics to document the moral decline of America, most notably crime rates, divorce, unwanted pregnancies, drug dependence, etc., have skyrocketed.  That is not to say we were without sin in the 1950’s, based on the evils of racism alone in the form of segregation, prohibitions on mixed race marriages, Jim Crow laws and the like.  But generally, Americans were more personally productive and tended to respect authority.


Secondly, our universities have popularized socialistic economic theories, such as that of John Maynard Keynes.  In the 1970’s when I was studying economics, the theories of John Adams and Milton Freidman ruled the day; we studied Keynes as a novelty.  In the 21st Century, governments at all levels have followed the Keynesian trend of greater reliance on government intervention.


In response to this rise of social disorder, it seems that modern economic theories have attempted to create societal solutions to the consequences of our moral malaise, so far without success.  In fact, the jurisdictions where modern theories have been applied to the highest degree have experienced rising crime and higher rates of individual pain as measured by previously mentioned trends.  The “Great Society” programs were launched nearly 60 years ago, and after billions of dollars of spending, the percentage of Americans living below the poverty line has remained virtually unchanged.


If we have learned anything from the dramatic growth of government during my lifetime, it should be that more government is not the answer to our problems; not Federal, not state, not local.  Until the people of this nation begin to realize the importance of the basic fundamentals of two parent households, steady loving discipline of our children, and ample investment of parents’ time and money in the education of our next generation, we will continue to struggle economically and socially, both in metropolitan areas, and rural communities like Bourbon County.



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