The Citizen and the Government
In the Aesop Fable "The Grasshopper and the Ant," there are moral, economic and political lessons for our time, or any other.
As the story goes, the lazy grasshopper wiles away his summer days singing and hopping and having an all-around good time while industrious ants work and march and struggle to carry kernels of corn to their anthills, storing up for the winter to come.
As you would imagine, the inevitable happens. Come winter, the ants have plenty of food to see them through the cold, fallow months. The fun-loving grasshopper has nothing. The grasshopper begs the hardworking ants to share their bounty, but they refuse.
Let's begin with the political lesson. Government, the grasshopper in this little morality tale, is constantly trying to get its citizens, the ants, to cough up more and more of what they've earned by the sweat of their brows so that it might pay for its own needs.
The latest of many recent examples occurred last week in
The tax hike caused the Democratic comptroller,
Only if the tax-and-spend "grasshoppers" start feeling the heat from the taxpaying "ants" are they likely to reverse course. Some of that heat may soon be coming from people who are fed up enough to act. There are reports of wealthy individuals and some businesses from states with high taxes, including
The economic lesson is this: Human nature has demonstrated that if government can squeeze more money out of its citizens without having to cut wasteful spending, it will; and if citizens can get other people's money without having to earn it, they will become addicted to government and come to regard the sustenance as an entitlement.
Compare the huge number of ineffective and wasteful government programs with The Marshall Plan of 1948, which established the
In America, too, many of our domestic programs merely sustain people in poverty rather than help them to become self-sufficient. Liberal politicians, especially, think this is perfectly fine because addiction to government means addiction to them and to the perpetuation of their liberal agenda.
The moral lesson is this: When government takes money from people who earn it, government has a responsibility to spend it wisely and in ways that achieve the ends set down in our founding documents. Chief among these is that noble sentiment found in the Preamble to the Constitution about promoting "the general welfare." By "spreading the wealth around," rather than teaching and encouraging individuals to build wealth for themselves, government robs people of the joy produced by human initiative; indeed it takes from them one of the building blocks that makes us unique among living things: the dignity and reward of work.
The moral, political and economic lessons of the past are in fables and reality to teach the present and ensure a better future. By ignoring them,
Read the latest political news.
- Of Bedrooms and Boardrooms
- Budget Cut Blues: America Needs More Informed Citizenry
- Pentagon Spending Spree
- Why the 'Pro-Growth Centrists' are Wrong
- Social Security's Dual-Income Trap
- Mitt Romney Must Find Tactical Advantage
- New Marco Rubio Faces Key Test
- Mitt Romney's Pitch to Hispanics Won't Work
- Turning the Other Cheek to Donald Trump
- Trampling the Right to Vote
- Ham-Handed Solution to a Problem That Doesn't Exist
- New Florida Voter Purge Should Come As No Surprise
- Romney and Bain: Actual 'Entitlement Society' in Action
- An 'Independent' Super PAC Demonstrates Supreme Court's Folly
- On Picking an Unprepared Vice-President
- Fat Cat Urged to Bankroll Anti-Obama Hatefest
- The Massachusetts Indian War of 2012
- Chameleon Nation
- Cabinets Gone Wild
- Which Kind of Capitalism? A Debate for Obama and Romney
- More Campaign Surrogate Blunders
- Are We Better Off Than in 2008?
- The Defeat of a Man of Reason
- Our Politics is a Mess, But Only One Party is The Cause
- Right-Wing Rage Trips Itself
- 'Money Primary' Pushes Obama to the Left
- Mitt Romney's Stellar Performance
- A Campaign Treading Water
- Mitt Romney Feeds the Crocs
- The Power of the Incumbency
- Demise of a Centrist Nominee Dream
- The Media's Religion Deficit
- Crushing College Dreams
- We Can't Afford Energy Subsidies and Tax Breaks
- The Truth's Liberal Tilt
- Mitt Romney's Media Handicap
- George Bush's Pithy Endorsement
- Spending Debate Creates an Opportunity for Mitt Romney
- The State of the Military-Industrial Complex Is Strong
- Republicans Have Bad Brains?
- The Citizen and the Government
- The President's 'Other Gospel'
- Voter IQs Need Refresher Course
- Cliches Conservatives Say
- Generation Pap
- Are Government's 'Strategic Communications' Coming to American Airwaves?
- The Job Stall
- Who Lost Latin America?
- United States Unlikely To Condemn Argentina's 'Outlaw Behavior' -- Yet
- French Elections Lesson
- Companies Save Big On Corporate Taxes With the Help of Lobbyists
- Happy Anniversary, or Partisan Boasting?
- On Losing Control of the Message
- My Papers? No Thank You
- Pothole Nation
- Why Being 'On The Right Track' Isn't Enough
- The Poor as Collateral Damage
- The Real Deal About College Costs
The Citizen and the Government | Politics
(c) 2012 Tribune Media Services, Inc.