Elected officials and government success | NevadaAppeal.com

Elected officials and government success

David Cantwell
For the Nevada Appeal

A survey of our current conditions and the politicians we have elected (current and past) leads me to some distressing conclusions. We have gotten to the point that the successful (elected) politician is the one who has most effectively promised the majority of the voters that they are the ones that will deliver to them a greater share of benefits.

This means redistribution of wealth.

Those seeking favor in the form of government mandates (regulations that help them and their personal interests) and benefits (everything from “free” health care, schooling, food stamps, welfare, ad infinitum) are losing their wealth as well. For as much as at first blush it would appear that an exception would be the individual who is totally dependent on government, they too are losing wealth too due to the government interference, they are less likely to be hired and everyone’s quality of life suffers due to misallocation of capital. Capital left in the hands of its true owners would be used to create products and services that would be beneficial to all.

The situation is insidious. A farmer may not like most of what one candidate espouses, but vote for the candidate anyway because he promised to continue farm subsidies. Another voter might vehemently oppose higher tax rates but may vote for the candidate their position on health care. The result is that the winners are the ones that promise the majority that they will give them that one thing they want – regardless of what it does to their neighbor, or country. Think about this. This is how the political class gets more and more powerful and we become more and more dependent. Have we reverted to a society of serfs and lords?

The founders understood human nature. They knew government could never provide for every person’s needs and wants. Utopian visions are pleasant. But government is run by people, which makes it subject to greed, corruption and those seeking control of others. Remember LBJ’s War on Poverty? How many trillions have been spent? But we still have the same problems and spend more and more money. How about The Department of Energy, founded in 1977 to get us off foreign oil? We use a higher percentage of foreign oil now than we did then. There are no examples of government success in any other area than growing government.

We must get back to federalism where the states (unable to print money) compete to provide the best government without federal mandate. Conceptually, if Nevada overtaxed and over regulated people, people could move to better managed states. Competing with each other to see who can get the most from government will certainly lead to self-destruction.

• David Y. Cantwell is an executive vice president of Jones Lang LaSalle, an international commercial real estate firm. He lives in Genoa.