The Top 10 misconceptions About Government
By Harry Browneï¿½ 2001 WorldNetDaily.com 6-26-1
When people argue for or against some new government program, a lot of
what's said is based on assumptions about government that just aren't so.
Direct from the home office in the slums of Washington, D.C., here are the
top 10 misconceptions commonly peddled about government today. ...
The budget and Social Security
Misconception No. 10: "The federal budget has been in surplus since 1998."
Not so. The federal debt increased by $109 billion in 1998, by $127 billion
in 1999, and by $23 billion in 2000.
The politicians are taking excess Social Security receipts and using them to
cover spending on foreign aid, corporate welfare, and thousands of other
boondoggles. Lumping Social Security in with the general budget transforms a
budget deficit into a surplus & but the federal debt continues to get larger
and will have to be repaid someday.
Misconception No. 9: "The politicians are keeping Social Security funds
separate and safe."
See Misconception No. 10. Even as politicians posture that they're protecting
Social Security, they're stealing from it in order to hide the budget
deficits. So long as Republicans and Democrats continue to peddle this lie,
they're demonstrating that you shouldn't believe anything they say.
Misconception No. 8: "The Republicans prevented a takeover of health care by
the federal government in 1994."
The Republican Congress has already enacted a large part of HillaryCare.
Today half of all health-care dollars in America are spent by government, and
another 20 percent by health-care plans that might not exist if it weren't
for the income tax code.
HillaryCare is a bogeyman raised by one party to persuade you it isn't as bad
as the other party.
Misconception No. 7: "The federal highway system allows poor states to have
roads as good as those of the richer states."
The truth is just the opposite. The federal highway program allows the
richer, more powerful states to plunder the poor states.
A main recipient of highway funds is Pennsylvania. Why Pennsylvania? Because
the chairman of the House Transportation Committee is Bud Shuster of
The people in states like Alabama or Montana are taxed so that congressmen
and senators can reward friends with contracts for a $2-billion subway system
in Miami that doesn't work, a "People Mover" in Detroit that hardly anyone
uses because it goes hardly anywhere, a billion-dollar airport in Denver that
no one but the Denver mayor wanted. These are "your highway dollars at work."
Intruding on your life
Misconception No. 6: "The defeat of the 'Know Your Customer' program in 1999
stopped banks from spying on you."
Not so. Banks have been required to report large or suspicious transactions
since 1970. And the definition of "suspicious" has included more transactions
Now the government has expanded the reporting to include private financial
companies. And the Post Office has a surveillance program called "Under the
Eagle's Eye." Big Brother is watching you.
Misconception No. 5: "The problems created by the drug war are necessary to
hold down drug use."
To believe that, you have to believe that only the drug laws keep you and me
and everyone you know from shooting up heroin. Otherwise, how could drug use
be much greater than it is now?
Any teen-ager can get drugs just by asking around at school. Since 1972 the
U.S. government's National Institute on Drug Abuse has surveyed teen-age drug
use in which in every major category has doubled, tripled, or quadrupled.
We have lost the Constitution and its Bill of Rights, innocent people have
been sentenced to life imprisonment on the say-so of admitted drug dealers
seeking reduced sentences, the drug business has been taken from legitimate
pharmaceutical companies and turned over to criminal gangs, the politicians
have played with hundreds of billions of dollars of our money. And all this
has led to greater drug use & not less.
Misconception No. 4: "The government keeps the environment clean."
A 1999 Boston Globe investigation concluded that the U.S. government is the
worst polluter in America. And most of the rest of pollution occurs on
government property & in government lakes and rivers, and on government land.
Private owners worry about the future value of their property, so they're
careful not to pollute their own assets. But the future is of no concern when
they use government property. So there's tremendous pollution on government
property, where bureaucrats have no personal stake in protecting it.
The best answer for pollution is to get as much property out of the hands of
government as possible. Then the remaining pollution problems shouldn't
require the oppressive regulatory nightmare being imposed today by
politicians, bureaucrats and social reformers.
Misconception No. 3: "Government regulation saves lives by making medicines
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has routinely kept life-saving
medicines off the market for years until its administrators were positive
they couldn't be held responsible for a single death.
Robert Goldberg of Brandeis University has estimated that FDA delays in
approving drugs already used safely in other countries have cost at least
200,000 American lives over the past 30 years. These delays killed Alzheimer
patients who weren't allowed to take THA, people with high blood pressure who
couldn't get beta-blockers, kidney-cancer patients deprived of Interleukin-2,
and AIDS patients who died waiting for AZT.
For true safety, we rely on doctors, research labs, insurance companies and
other private agencies to determine what's appropriate for each individual,
not what is politically safe for the regulators. Doctors sometimes make
mistakes, but they don't make decisions on a political basis.
Why we tolerate government
Misconception No. 2: "We have to tolerate the bad things government does in
exchange for the protection it provides against violence, domestic and
Far from protecting us from violence, the government seems to be the foremost
cause of it. Its drug war has spawned inner-city chaos and gang warfare, and
its SWAT teams kill innocent people during mistaken drug raids. Government
doesn't protect our children in the schools, it doesn't protect adults on the
streets, and depending on 911 for protection makes as much sense as relying
on the lottery for your income.
Overseas it is our government that's roaming the world stirring up trouble.
It has killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi adults and children by forcibly
preventing them from getting food and medicines. It subsidized the Afghan
"freedom fighters" in the 1980s, but now claims those same "freedom
are a main source of terrorism in the world. It bombed innocent people in
Serbia to aid the Albanians using the same Albanians it now wants NATO to attack.
Some protection. No wonder the U.S. is the main target of terrorists.
Here it comes ...
And by far the No. 1 misconception about government issssss ...
Misconception No. 1: "The next government program will work the way its
The government's war on poverty has transformed poverty from a short-term
misfortune into a career choice. Its war on drugs has escalated drug use.
Medicare has made health care more expensive and less accessible for senior
citizens. Nothing the politicians have enacted has turned out as promised,
and most programs have made matters worse.
So do you really believe George Bush's voucher program will make education
better or his "faith-based" charity plan will make welfare work? Do you
think the Democrats' prescription-drug program will make medicines easier to
obtain? Or John McCain's campaign-finance bill will make politics cleaner?
If you believe any of that, consider buying a marvelous bridge I own in
The solution to today's problems isn't to pass more government programs or
to reform government programs or to get better people to manage them. The
answer is to end completely all these government programs that have caused so
much misery, waste, corruption and tyranny. Get government entirely out of
health care, education, welfare, drugs, policing the world, and anything else
not specifically authorized in the Constitution.
The worst misconception of all is the idea that government will give you what
you want. ___
Harry Browne was the 2000 Libertarian presidential candidate. More of his
articles can be read at HarryBrowne.org, and his books are available at
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