… because you might get it.
A news report claims that “COVID-19 is pushing Americans to want more government involvement in their lives“.
A survey taken during the height of the health crisis finds COVID-19 may have pushed more people to want government to play a bigger role in their lives … A team from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins University SNF Agora Institute say support for an active government role in society jumped over 40 percent between September 2019 and April 2020. The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic in March.
While some policies are still not very popular, a majority of respondents have gotten behind creating more government safety nets for healthcare, unemployment, and income. Nearly 1,500 adults were polled in mid-April regarding 11 government policies including paid sick leave, universal health insurance, income support, business tax credits, and employment education.
The poll, conducted using NORC’s Amerispeak Panel, reveals overwhelming support for reform from those wanting a more active government.
There’s more at the link.
I suppose it’s natural for those who find themselves out of work, and short of money, to want help from those who they see as able to provide it. Unfortunately, the government doesn’t have its own money. It has only what it takes from taxpayers (or prints as deficit spending, which must be repaid by taxpayers sooner or later). In other words, what it hands out to one must be taken back from them, or from another, sooner or later – and we’re the ones who’ll do the paying. Even if we aren’t paying payroll taxes directly, we’ll pay for it in higher indirect taxation (i.e. sales tax, customs duties, and so on).
The late President Ford issued a prescient warning:
That’s all too true. There’s an old adage, attributed to many sources, that “Government, like fire, is a dangerous servant and a fearful master”. Once we become dependent on our government for our survival, we basically surrender our independence to it. Government is then no longer “of the people, by the people, and for the people”: it’s for the benefit of whoever controls it – and there will always be people behind the scenes who exercise faceless, unfettered and remorseless control.
It boils down to a matter of trust, as we discussed earlier this morning. Can we trust government to trust us? Or will government fundamentally distrust us, and seek to use the assistance it can provide to control us? I’m afraid it’s mostly the latter. I’ve seen that at work in the third world, all too often. A government there will coordinate food aid during a famine, or relief efforts during an outbreak of disease, or help to deal with whatever the crisis du jour may be. However, there are always strings attached. If your region didn’t elect politicians favorable to the government, you’ll get a lot less aid than areas that did support the government. If the government is dominated by one tribe, other tribes will get short shrift. If your area has natural riches of any sort, the cream will be skimmed off the top of any deal to exploit them – and it’ll go to “connected” officials and tribal leaders, not to the ordinary people of the area. I could produce endless examples, but you can look them up for yourselves. They’re endemic.
(Of course, the situation isn’t much different in the USA. Look at the number of “big government” projects that have resulted in billions being skimmed off the top in graft and corruption. Boston’s “Big Dig” is a good example. So is California’s light rail
project fiasco. There are examples in every state, I’m sure. Corruption seems to go hand-in-glove with government.)
The more we depend on government, the more government will change from being a public servant to a public master. That’s a very dangerous road to go down.