Subsidizing the Wealthy

If Washington’s leviathan government is good at anything, it is subsidizing the wealthy.  Consider corporate welfare, for instance.  Those with the most resources (esp. time, information, and money) are rewarded with the pork barrel spending, the government contracts, the special legislation, etc.  We keep thinking that by putting in more rules and regulations (reforming the system, as John McCain or President-Elect Obama may say), we can restrain the problem.

Then there are farm subsidies.  Have you ever considered the lunacy of spending billions of dollars a year to large agribusiness outfits to prop up already overpriced crops like corn, wheat and sugar, and also spending tens of billions of dollars so that the poorest among us can purchase these overpriced commodities?  Eliminate the subsidy and the need for WIC, for instance, is greatly reduced, or even eliminated.  Meanwhile, family farms are going out of business: again, the wealthy are rewarded.  Those with the most resources have both the biggest stake in farm subsidy policy and legislation, but also the greatest ability to affect, craft, or persuade legislators and regulators to bend things their way.  Again, the wealthy are subsidized, while the family farms go out of business or struggle to make ends meet.

Subsidizing professional sports’ stadiums is another way to subsidize the wealthy.  After all, who can afford them except the wealthiest among us?  By subsidizing them, we make the wealthy pay less, lining their pockets with more money for owners, coaches, athletes, and a burgeoning bureaucracy, full of agents, assistants, lawyers, trainers, and the like.  Those who are upset at the outrageous salaries of professional athletes should consider whether they are supporting these inflated salaries by supporting subsidies to professional sports’ stadiums.

Speaking of professional sports, I heard last week that Ken Griffey, Jr., famous and wealthy professional athlete, has been pegged as an American Public Diplomacy Envoy

Let’s see if we can figure this out.  We spend (through taxation, borrowing, and inflation) hundreds of billions of dollars a year on an aggressive, unconstitutional, hyperinterventionist foreign policy, involving hundreds of thousands of troops and over 700 military bases, not to mention the tens of billions sent in foreign aid to prop up bankrupt regimes, so that we can be “safer,” or so that we can be the world’s policeman.

The inevitable result: widespread hostility, from Venezuela to Iran to France to Russia to North Korea.  Almost anywhere you go (with the possible exception of Israel), there is an anti-American sentiment: not one generally opposed to values of liberty and freedom as much as opposed to American foreign interventionism, political, military, and economic.  It’s true that in some countries, this is more pronounced than in others.  But nonetheless, it exists, and it is widespread.

To put a band-aid on this severed limb, the government hires the uber-wealthy, like Cal Ripken or Ken Griffey, two American mega-stars, to travel around the world promoting baseball and American “values.”

What about the values of freedom and liberty?  Of treating others how we would want to be treated?  Of a limited government that does not overtax, overregulate, or overspend?  Of honest friendship with nations, involving private trade, individual travel, and government diplomacy?  These values speak for themselves, and require no subsidy to the wealthy to implement.

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Filed under fiscal policy, foreign policy, Libertarian, politics, role of government

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