Wither Thee A Thermostat – One Example of How Government Can Ruin Your Life

by Steve MacDonald

Here is a very good example of why the Government sucks, and why the very nature of the state as a reliever of ills is actually destructive to that very end..

Throughout the entire winter, every winter lately, the temperature in my house is around 63-65 degrees.  At night, and when we are out, it is a good bit colder.  This is not exactly the most comfortable environment but I have no choice.  I cannot afford to keep it warmer so we grab extra sweatshirts and blankets and suck it up.

Now some folks will ask, why can’t you afford it and if not would you be eligible for something like heating aid?

I probably am eligible, but it is the governments own fault that I would even need to be eligible in the first place so that is not the kind of aid I want or need.

Heating aid is a government program, like every act of government, which requires paperwork, and bureaucrats, and costs taxpayers all kinds of money for things before, during, and even after the actual cost of the aid itself.  For the most part the result of the entire investment are mostly wasted and while for a small portion of the population, there is probably some genuine need–the rest of the “need” is a product of the governments actions itself.

Take me for example.  My heating bill has risen 30-40%, almost all as a result of the Federal governments monopoly on force.  The government has decided things about energy that have skewed the market severely, driving up prices.  Were the government to back off and let the free market make decisions about demand and value, the cost to heat my home would eventually drop.  I could then make value choices about heating and savings on my own rather than being forced into them by the politicians, bureaucrats, and special interests groups who have defined energy policy for most of my life.

But that is not the only reason why my energy cost as much as it does.  The government has also engaged in destructive monetary policy, using its monopoly on force and currency to dilute the value of the dollars I earn.  This has made them worth less, and everything else more expensive, placing additional price pressure on the cost of energy.   Since my dollars are worth less every year I need more of them to buy the same things.   I am not only spending more to buy energy I am spending more to buy everything else (food, clothes, etc.) leaving me even fewer dollars in my pocket with which to spend on heat.  This bureaucratized inflation acts like a hidden tax on my wages, not just siphoning off value but denying me choices in the process by leaving me with fewer dollars, all because the government has the power to affect the value of my wages based on their political fancy.

This is all unpleasant, but we’re still not done.

The government has also used its monopoly on force to add cost burdens on my employer.   Complying with regulations is another hidden tax, which has continued to escalate, even without the onset of Obama-Care which could become the daddy of all cost pressures on the business community.   My employer–a small business owner–has had to divert cash to pay for the cost of operations, affected by more and more regulations, making it unavailable for any other purpose.  The mere act of being in business, much like the cost of me heating my house, (and which includes him heating his home and his business by the way), have reallocated resources to things that used to cost less, making them unavailable for any other purpose, making it harder for him to keep us employed–forget about getting raises.

While he earns a more significant benefit from his business than I do, he is also under the same cost pressures as the rest of us, costs that will creep up as we pass the fiscal cliff, and his income and assets come under significantly more pressure due to the likely tax increases he will be asked to bear as a result of pro-tax policies against the so-called rich.

With everyone having less, they are all doing less, which to a business owner means less commerce, lower profits, and even fewer resources to invest in an operation.  The employer finds themselves spending even more to attract a dwindling market, adding even more costs to doing business.

The only thing that does not decrease are the costs incurred by the government as it manages its monopoly of force on every aspect of this equation, and grows it, taking more and more out for what amounts to little more than making everything cost more for everyone else.  And as long as government continues to do the things it has been doing, this process increases all of its pressures exponentially until something snaps.

Progressives make excuses for this Ponzi scheme by declaring that the government can better provide aid to those in need.  The problem, however, is that all they are actually doing is creating more need, which at  some point they themselves will no longer even be able to provide.  Sooner or later you run out of other peoples money, and having burned and salted the fields on the way there, when the bubble collapses, everyone who got sucked into in (willingly or not) will be on their own with–literally–nothing to fall back on.  Nothing.

Yes, freedom is risky. You have to make your own world.  But the dependency culture that is socialism it certain misery.  In the end the math never works out any other way.

The end result of all this for me, as with many, is that I have not seen a wage increase in going on five years, while the cost of everything around me rises.  I have had to make decisions about everything to continue to have a decent lifestyle.  (One of those decisions I made years ago when I bought my house was to make sure I could afford my mortgage no matter what kind of jobs my wife and I had to work.  A lesson that would have prevented the entire financial collapse in 2008 had others followed it instead of following the the meddling of the government which used its monopoly on force to create the mortgage bubble and its inevitable collapse).

What is particularly insulting is that to the worldview of the average progressive, who embraces these government measures as both a necessary and productive use of the state monopoly on power, is that I am an innocent bystander.  An (presumably) unintended casualty. I am not even the one they meant to help, and yet by their own actions they are pushing people like me, otherwise more than capable of managing their lives if permitted to do so,  into a corner from which government assistance could become the only path out.

Were the state to abandon its decades long abuse of regulatory force on the energy sector (for the purposes of our example), the free market would jump in and my energy bill would begin to drop.  The cost of gas needed to drive to work or the grocery store would decrease.  My employer would spend less to heat, cool, and run equipment.  The retailers I frequent would see similar changes.  The price pressure from energy alone would free up capital to invest on other things.  Employers might hire an extra hand, or invest it to train their staff.-making them worth more to anyone in that business.  They might reach farther afield for new business as the cost to get there declined, or offer better benefits or even wage increases.

This would not just employ more people in the energy sector, removing them from the debit side of the balance sheet, it would increase choices for employers, employees, and customers alike across every sector of the economy, and all the government would have to do is spend less of our money getting in everyone’s way.

I might choose to keep my house a few degrees warmer and/or pocket the difference for other wants and needs.  I might split the difference and still come out ahead.  And I would be increasingly less and less likely to need help just to ensure that my wife and kids were warm in the winter.  I would not be at risk for becoming a part time employee on the heating aid payroll of some government bureaucracy, saving even more money.

Apply this same principle to all the other places where government wastes money trying to do to much, and you not only save the cost of the interference you save the cost of compliance.  You also free business owners and everyday citizens to make more choices about their own lives.  You defer control, if and when it might be desired,  to a more regional, or local level.  You create more opportunity and more choices.  You create more freedom.  It really is that simple.

But that is not where we are.  Where we are is a place where if I cannot afford to heat my house, the pat response from the current reining majority of cultural and political opinion is to become another expense on the states balance sheet.  Go and get some assistance.  Take your fair share.  C’mon it’s there, all you have to do is ask.  That’s what its for.

That is not what it is for.

I am probably financially eligible for all kinds of things that I refuse to apply for because I am more than capable of paying for them myself.  I still have a job.  My wife still works.  We still do rather well considering.  Yes, we have to give some things up, more so in the past few years, and Christmas will be a smaller affair this year than last, but I don’t need the governments help and I don’t want it.

And if the government stopped getting between me and my employer, and my retailer, and the company that fills my propane tank, and my doctor, and my banker, and the guy who owns the gas station I use, and my electricity provider, and my phone company, and the companies that provide them with the product they sell; and if they stopped devaluing our dollars; if they stopped using their monopoly on force to regulate and interfere as much as they do, not only would the cost of government go down, but the cost to participate in the American lifestyle would go down as well.

People would be able to do more with less.  They would be free to make more decisions about how they want to live and what they want to spend their money on.   They could decide who to work for and for how much because whenever there is less government there is always more choice, more employment, and more opportunity.

I don’t want heating aid.  I don’t want lunch assistance.  I don’t want children’s health insurance or for my kids to be able to stay on my policy until they are twenty-six.  I don’t want the government telling me what to eat or drink or smoke or what companies have to print on their products because I am not too stupid to know better, and while there are people who probably are, why hasn’t the god-awfully-expensive state controlled education system trained them be better thinkers?

I want the government to get the hell out of my way so I can afford to live the way I want.

But that’s not what we voted for,  not for a long time in any meaningful way, and certainly not on November 6th.  So for the foreseeable future the temperature in my house is going to be in the low to mid sixties whether I want it there or not because the government has done so much to make living that much harder to do.

And while America may have chose dependence, I’m still not having any of it.





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