Conservatives rage continuously about wanting a smaller government. Yet their actions and attitudes speak exactly the opposite.
When Conservatives discuss wanting a smaller government, what they really refer to is reducing money spent on social support programs and reducing regulations on business, mostly on corporations.
I have written previously explaining how Social Democracy is profitable on the social level and supports a healthy economy. You can find that article here.
Supply side economics. All healthy economies function from the bottom up, not the top down. Conservatives promote the idea of supply-side economics, which does not work at all. That’s like saying an economy is healthy if you fill warehouses yet do not pay the employees enough to buy the products in the warehouse. What really happens is that the warehouse sits full, perishable items spoil and durable items rot while people starve and go without needed items. If goods are not sold, the warehouse starts eliminating jobs. Production and transportation are no longer needed to fill the warehouse, so those jobs are lost as well.
Border security. Conservatives promote border security, which mandates and even larger government. That costs money, which they seem quite content to pay, even though it will only create jobs in four states and most of those are temporary jobs. Most of the jobs will be in sparsely populated areas of those four states. In addition, it will steal land and resources from thousands of land owners along the border. Border cities will feel a major negative impact and we can expect to see entire communities become ghost towns very quickly.
What creates jobs? Rational immigration standards that allow for migrant workers. Agricultural jobs affect many things downstream. Truck drivers, food processing, grocery stores, restaurants. Enact immigration standards that limit migrant agricultural workers and you increase food prices. The higher prices go, the less volume people can purchase the more jobs are lost.
Military. Both Conservatives and centrist Democrats support an ever-larger military and military spending. The claim is another one I have addressed previously, that building weapons creates jobs. You can find that article here. The fallacy is ignoring that the majority of weapons production jobs are automated and in limited areas. After all, would you want to live next to a bomb factory? Those jobs are also dependent on maintaining military conflicts in other countries. If we achieve peace with any of the countries we are bombing, jobs are lost. Even the military positions created by a massive military are mostly jobs in other countries and most of the money the service members spend is spent in those other countries. That is all money we pay that flows out of this country, never to return.
What does create jobs? Schools including colleges and universities, libraries, building bridges, building and fixing roads, affordable medical care. Even food stamps. These are jobs in local communities which help to support other jobs in local communities.
Deregulation. Deregulation of corporate entities has a long list of negatives and virtually no positives.
Right now in this country, we have over 1300 superfund sites. These are areas where the environment has been poisoned in some way and requires massive cleanup efforts which cost huge sums of money. Some were caused by the military but most have been caused by corporate entities that violated environmental laws. In most cases, the corporations have either declared bankruptcy and no longer exist or they were fined token sums which account for a fraction of the cleanup efforts.
The cost of these sites cannot be calculated because the costs include contaminated water sources, extravagant cancer rates in many areas, loss of life, loss of farms and ranches, closed public lands, poisoned wildlife which may spread to other areas and more. Among the list of violators still in existence you find such familiar names as Exxon, Dow, 3M, Shell, BP, Georgia-Pacific and many more. Of late, one of the biggest culprits are fracking companies. As areas are contaminated, whole towns evacuated, water sources made unusable, farms and livelihoods are lost, often along with the health of tens of thousands.
Yet many of these sites have yet to have cleanup efforts even begin, while others have had that work continue for years or decades. All because of inadequate funding.
What creates jobs? Funding these cleanup efforts actually creates jobs. Returning those lands to public use would create more jobs.
What is not included in smaller government. What is consistently not included in the calls for smaller government is elimination of subsidies for industries which post massive profits. The oil and gas industry is subsidized to the tune of nearly $40 billion each and every year. Yet that does not include the cost of military escorts for ocean-going tankers. Even though oil is one of the US’s top three exports and one of our top three imports. Get the feeling you’re getting played? That’s because you are.
Corporate dairy farms are subsidized, corn farmers are subsidized, soybean farmers are subsidized, chemical companies are subsidized, aircraft manufacturers are subsidized. You pay for their products even if you do not use their products.
Oil, gas and coal companies are also subsidized by direct purchasing of their products by federal, state and local governments. Yet this is not included in what is considered subsidies for those industries.
Also not included is a call for the breakup of national and multinational corporations to match the size and region of the smaller governments. In many cases, individual corporations would far exceed the size, reach and budget of individual state governments. Right this minute, how difficult is it for a coalition of state AG’s to challenge a corporate or industry battery of lawyers? Imagine breaking that up so that each state must stand on their own against oil, coal, tobacco, alcohol, chemical, weapons manufacturers, etc.
Smaller does not mean smaller. In most cases where proponents of smaller government make their calls, it will not result in smaller government at all. What they really call for is shifting responsibility for necessary services to state and local government agencies. If such a shift occurred, what would happen is an increase in the cost of these services, while delivering less. While that shift would create some jobs, the number would be statistically negligible while the additional cost would be significant. Instead of one single database or agency required for a service, we would need 50 or more agencies using differing programs and accounting methods. In many states, it would result in greater corruption, crony capitalism and nepotism than we already have.
Meanwhile transparency would suffer greatly and news organizations already under corrupt corporate control would not even ask relevant questions. We already see these problems with our national corporate media, who support their sponsors far above and beyond the effort to expose the truth. The Washington Post, owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, has been revealed to have a policy to punish or even terminate journalists who so much as question the actions of a corporate advertiser, not just in the paper but on social media as well.
I know I mostly discuss Conservatives in this particular article. I’ll be honest and say I do not think centrist politicians and parties are any better. They differ in their approach but mostly in favor of keeping their control or lack of control centralized. Their policies for regulation aren’t much different. They like the corporations to see them as friendly to the status quo.
I would like smaller government. For the most part, I would be in favor of smaller government under the right conditions. Meaning the secession of many states from the national structure and forming a federation of allied nations. Something I have written before is highly likely to happen in nearby future years. If that happened, obviously some nations would be more Progressive and others more Conservative but in all, it would offer more options for comparison. It would definitely prove that Social Democracy is more profitable and offers more benefits. It would take very little time for Conservative nation-states to see a mass exodus and Progressive nation-states to see a huge influx. The Conservative states would have to completely collapse before they would change their approach. Even then, it’s possible some would try to invade neighboring Progressive states.
In such a scenario, each nation-state would have the ability to set regulations and trade agreements on their own. If a large entity tried to manipulate that system, it would be more difficult to do so in nation-states that created systems that mandated greater transparency and accountability. Things that will never happen under a corporate-friendly CONgress that does not answer to it’s people.
For now, just accept the fact that the calls for a smaller government are nothing but a smokescreen for the benefit of the rich and powerful, using whores and uneducated blind puppets to promote their agenda.