Tax-and-spend “liberal” Democrats endure a lot of flak for expanding government through social spending and regulation, but spend-and-don’t-tax “conservative” Republicans share in the blame for expanding government as well. When government spends more than it collects in revenue, a tax break is government spending money via borrowing in order to ease the tax burden of one group by raising taxes on younger Americans who will be held responsible for debt, even though they will not enjoy the services this borrowing allowed. Worse yet, tax credits, which have been increasingly favored by Republicans since the George W. Bush Administration introduced massive Child Tax Credits, returns more than many taxpayers pay into government. The Republican health insurance reform effort, i.e Paul Ryan’s The American Health Care Act, serves as high profile example of how the Right-wing is expanding government.
AHCA sought to replace the low-income subsidies of Obamacare by deploying a tax credit scheme that favored those with higher incomes. Because the tax credit scheme of AHCA would have paid for a far greater share of healthcare for those who could most afford it, it was an expansion of social welfare spending that included the middle to upper class. It was an expansion of the “entitlement base.” By allotting money specifically for spending on health insurance to those who could most likely afford health insurance, the tax credit scheme would have likely encouraged health insurers to simply raise rates to boost their profits. Because AHCA stripped away “essential benefits” and allowed companies to charge more for high risk policyholders, it would have also incentivized insurers to minimize costs by dumping sick people onto government plans and maximize profit by focusing on insurance for the healthy, thereby exasperating the need for bigger government. Unfortunately, AHCA’s tax scheme is just the tip of the iceberg.
In addition to the ways in which subsidies like tax credits suppress the labor market, i.e. discourage workers from seeking a living wages, AHCA’s tax credit scheme would encourage employers to discharge the burden of health insurance, which would be a major loss of income for American workers. Where subsides allow businesses to charge consumers more for subsidized products, AHCA would help businesses use government as an easy and very lucrative source of revenue. While private industry fiercely fights even reasonable taxation and regulation, it loves easy government money, which is why US military spending is so inefficient and a major impediment to fiscal responsibility. Despite the CBO’s score showing AHCA would lower the Federal Deficit, those savings would have been achieved by reducing help to those who need help to buy. health insurance, but it actually increased government giveaways to the middle and upper classes. In other words, AHCA took from the poor and old to give somewhat less of a benefit to the more affluent and young.
Beyond AHCA, the use of private prisons and charter schools serve as examples of Republicans offering private industry a chance to feed off government. There are cases when private industry can do things government cannot do or do things better than government. Privatizing has, however, become an excuse for government to shirk its responsibility and policymakers to enrich their friends in private industry. Only if there is a compelling reason government cannot do what a private company can do should government privatize a function of government. When it comes to privatization, there is still a need for high standards and strict government oversight. Privatization does not mean letting someone else deal with an issue. Privatization and subcontracting always require constant oversight. Aside from concerns about the loose standards of private prisons and some charter schools, the simple truth is these are functions of government that government can do and can do well, so there is no need to introduce the expense of private profit.
Instead of favoring government growth to provide new services for Americans like the Democrats want, Republicans favor growing government spending to favor wealthier businesses and more affluent individuals. Government is a service that exists solely to improve the lives of People and their communities. Although this requires sacrifice, such as paying taxes, the primary responsibility of government is to secure and empower individuals. On the surface, the Republican“free market,” limited government approach appears to do this. In their failure to police private industry and already affluent individuals, they fail to protect those who are truly disempowered. When privatization does not come with high standards and strike oversight, it turns government into little more than means to redistribute wealth to influential business interests. Looking at the approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline, the Trump Administration has sought to free economic development, but it has declined to use the leverage of the Federal government to protect individual and State rights. The potential utilization of eminent domain for the XL pipeline by private industry is also an example of government overreach that happens to favor business interests at the expense of landowner rights..
On the other hand, there are legitimate to utilize eminent domain for the public good, even if it infringes on the rights of individuals and benefits private industry through democratic consensus. There are also times when privatization and less cumbersome regulation can improve the function of government. Tax breaks and credits can also be a legitimate means of easing financial burdens on individuals and incentivizing healthier financial behavior. Similarly, government spending on social programs also have a place. The problem is that policymakers are not being honest about the costs of the government. Republicans, in particular, are too busy trying to abuse government to deliver pork to their constituents and financial backers under the guise of political ideology. Just as those on the Left need to be criticized for their failure to keep government spending in check and strive for a functional, fiscally responsible government, the Right needs to do the same, especially since they are in control of the Federal government at this time.
Read old posts