Despite all the noise politicians make about the importance of education, they have a significant incentive to keep the electorate ignorant. That provides the reasoning behind their wanting to maintain control of the education system and the process of education itself.
Keeping the electorate ignorant has paid politicians substantial political dividends for many generations. When voters don’t know what the government cannot or should not do, they will continue to vote for those who promise to do those things for them.
Importance as Economic Influence
People have come to believe that the government has an importance in influencing the economy far more significantly than it does. We frequently hear that there are projects that are so big or so important that only the government can finance them. Politicians talk about creating jobs, “paying down the deficit,” controlling prices, balancing trade, and other nonsense. Bill Clinton did not balance the federal budget, George W. Bush did not lose millions of jobs, and Joe Biden certainly created no jobs.
We continue to live under the New Deal/Keynesian delusion that government spending has a positive and beneficial influence on the economy. Remember that for every dollar the government spends on a politician’s pet project; someone loses a dollar for a project the market would prefer to complete. Underlying this approach is the tacit assumption that the government knows how to spend your money better than you do.
In truth, government spending will reach a point at which it sinks the economy.
What the government giveth, the government taketh away. But it does not give and take based on economic consideration, only political power. Even though spending and taxation are inexorably linked, politicians treat taxation as a separate handle on the controls of the economic engine that only they can manipulate.
They perpetuate ideas like tax cuts being stimulative for the economy, regardless of what they do with spending. They have convinced themselves and those who listen to them that there really is a “fair share” for different taxpayers in different situations.
In this whole mess, taxation has become one of the largest and most devastating tools for government social management. “If you don’t do what we think is good, we will take more of your money away.” “We will take things away from you for the larger good…(paraphrase).” Sen. HR Clinton.
Few people even suspect the cost of government regulation–certainly not the politicians.
Citing a complete set of examples would require a book as large as the Internal Revenue Code. Every regulation that gets passed imposes a cost on every party involved and taxpayers in general. The most obvious, yet least onerous, cost is enforcing the regulation; for what good is a regulation that is not enforced?
But let me cite some of the protectionist regulations as examples.
“Minimum wage” laws seem to have a broad base of support. They seem to help people, and their cost is difficult to measure accurately. “Minimum wage” laws, however, exact a huge toll on the economy. First, they price entry-level workers out of the market. Second, they close the door of upward mobility. Workers lose the opportunity to apprentice to a journeyman worker and learn a trade that will allow them the opportunity to advance. Thirdly, the productivity of the journeyman/mentor workers is cut by the entry worker’s lack of assistance. (this can be considered in part compensation for the training.)
Much of what can be said about “minimum wage” laws can be said also about overtime laws. They limit the ability of workers and employers to agree to additional work for additional pay. No one can measure the loss of productivity and income because of the punitive nature of overtime laws.
Consumer and workplace safety regulations impose a significant toll on the economy. To save a single life, or a single limb, businesses must absorb costs that, in the aggregate, probably cost many lives and limbs.
The country has entered what we might call the “Ignorance Trap.” We have become so used to having others tell us what to know and how to think that we have lost the ability to think for ourselves.
We really do believe that some things only government can do for us. We have come to accept without question that the government can decide how to educate our children better than we can. “School choice” has created a smoke screen to get us to ignore that the government takes other people’s money for our kids’ education. This mindset just perpetuates the growing socialism.
Politicians have been spending these falsehoods for so long they now genuinely believe them. We have entered the second generation of politicians who have grown up under the expansion of socialistic/statist thinking. They are intelligent people basing their thinking on false premises.
Politicians can do nothing for us that we cannot do better for ourselves.