Massive Government Spending Equals Broken Elections

by Jack Gleason, American Thinker:

Most people think “government” is just something that runs in the background.  We pay taxes once a year (or four times a year, or…), and for that we get our roads paved, police come when we really need them, and our kids have schools to go to.

This is a view from the 1950s that has persisted for the last 70 years.  “Focus on our families, and let our elected leaders do their jobs.”

America is the richest country in the world, and, sadly, there are people who want to take advantage of our wealth for their own benefit.  The money we spend on just roads and schools is enormous ($206 billion and $927 billion in 2022), so the contracts awarded for government work are highly coveted.  So those who do government work will often make campaign contributions to office-seekers in hopes of getting lucrative business deals.


Fast-forward seventy years, and we find a vast network of lobbying firms, industry associations, and special interest groups desperately trying to influence elections to put their guys in office and get a piece of the federal budget, which was $65 billion in 1955 and is now $6 trillion in 2023.  That’s an increase of almost 100 times.

Another important function of government is law enforcement.  In 1955, law enforcement meant keeping our streets safe and fighting crime.  Now our Department of Justice is involved in social issues and politics.

So our view of government as the paver of roads, builder of schools, and manager of our legal justice system is vastly outdated.

Our new government now has a finger in every aspect of our lives.

  • Social issues, like abortion, who competes in girls’ sports, and who can marry whom
  • Law enforcement issues: combatting inner-city crime and shoplifting, or prosecuting people for their political beliefs
  • Environmental issues: clean air and water, or an obsession with ending oil and natural gas in favor of electric cars
  • Education issues: life skills, math and science, or social justice and gender confusion
  • Health care issues: what treatments are recommended, how much people have to pay

Every one of these areas now has a constituency in Washington, D.C., with lobbyists and activists constantly pressuring our elected officials to spend tens of billions of dollars for their businesses or their causes.

The average American has no money to spend on lobbying, yet we are the ones who fund the government.

Our only control comes once every two years, when we elect representatives in local, state, and federal government to speak for us.  Candidates campaign and tell us what they promise to do, and we cast our votes based on the interests of ourselves and our families.  If these politicians don’t follow through, we vote them out next time.

But when we consider how much money the federal government controls, there is tremendous pressure from special interests to interfere in elections to help the candidates they prefer.  Even ten or twenty thousand extra dollars spent on a local race for county commissioner or school board member can be enough to swing a close election.  From state legislators to congressmen to senators, money spent by outside interests now plays the dominant role in who represents us.  And if our leaders are beholden to outside donors to get elected, they no longer fear getting voted out of office.

The result is that our government spending is out of control, and much of it is fraudulent, corrupt, wasteful, or unnecessary.

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