Time to Prioritize State Spending
Has William Voegli spent time in Rhode Island?
Liberals sell the welfare state one brick at a time, deflecting inquiries about the size and cost of the palace they’re building. Citizens are encouraged to regard the government as a rich uncle, who needs constant hectoring to become ever more generous.
According to Voegli, its up to conservatives to
…insist that limited government is inseparable from self-government. To govern is to choose. To deliberate about the legitimate and desirable extent of the welfare state presupposes that we the people should choose the size and nature of government programs, rather than have them be chosen for us by entitlements misconstrued as inviolable rights.
Dan Yorke has done just such a thing with his proposal of making two lists: one comprised of those programs that subsidize the lifestyles of those who continue to make bad choices and another list of those programs that help those who are in dire straits due to circumstances beyond their control. Yorke’s idea is but one way of reducing the real bankruptcy–and changing the philosophical bankruptcy–with which our State government currently operates. Voegli also offers some words of wisdom about the task we now face:
No political strategy can guarantee success. Under no foreseeable set of circumstances will liberals fear giving voters their spiel: we want the government to give things to you and do things for you. Conservatives can only reply that single-entry bookkeeping doesn’t work; every benefit the government confers will correspond to a burden it has to impose. A government that respects citizens as adults will level with them about the benefits and the costs. A conservatism that labors to reverse liberalism’s displacement of Americans’ rights as citizens with their “rights” as welfare recipients may not achieve victory, but it will at least deserve it.
Yes, Voegli makes it sound a bit quixotic. But we’ve gotta try.