The Government Cannot Be Benevolent, and Shouldn’t Even Try To Be

I do not mean to say that we should not help the poor. Far from it. All I am saying is to keep the government out of our charitable giving. Why? Because whenever and wherever the government is involved, there is an element of force and not voluntary giving that is involved. So beware of politicians who hide their desire for control under the rug of our desire to help. The government is the last entity in society that can be designed to be benevolent. No matter what lawmakers put in any law to make the government more “sensitive” to our needs, exactly the opposite of what was intended occurs. As a matter of fact, the government cannot be benevolent.

Let me give an example to make this point clear.

Let’s say you are Manny Pacquiao, a conscientious lawmaker. You want to enact a law that would help the poor. So you introduce a law that would allocate more money to give to the poor. Sounds good. A fellow lawmaker who knows something about accounting tells you that without increasing the revenue, the annual amount you want added for help to the poor cannot be budgeted. You then say, OK, let’s increase taxes for those of us who are rich “including me, Manny Pacquiao”. The people love Manny Pacquiao for increasing taxes on himself, and the law proceeded to the next phase of enactment. Later on, other lawmakers added more sections to the text of the law, including a section defining who is poor and who is not. The poor are those whose income falls below a certain level, does not own much property, etc. Sure enough Manny’s new law to help the poor is enacted, and everybody now loves him even more because he wants to help the poor. But the story doesn’t end there.

In the first year of enforcement of the law, people who were borderline poor but not poor enough according to the law, did a simple thing to be counted as poor and therefore get more money from the government. All they did was avoid declaring certain incomes. After that first year, government and independent studies showed that the number of people who are poor has increased by more than 50%. Newspeople started asking the question, are we really helping the poor? Meanwhile, more and more people with large incomes found ways to circumvent the higher tax by putting their money somewhere the government says it’s OK to put it, like donating more of it to political causes favorable to those in power. Large amounts of capital are put in ventures that mostly benefited the friends of politicians, just to avoid taxes. Instead of starting new businesses that increase the demand for labor, the rich put their money somewhere else. People who were just entering the labor force found it more difficult to get a job.

Perceptive people can see that the overall result of the government forcing us to give our largesse to the poor is in fact more suffering and injustice. Jobs become hard to come by, and the poor are encouraged to be poor instead of fending for themselves.

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About ctapang

I am a Software Design Engineer. I have just abandoned the huge army organized to make .Net programming the one dominant programming system. I now program in Typescript which (surprise) is also from Microsoft. Aside from my day job as a programmer, I am also involved in a movement (http://correctphilippines.org) to correct the Philippine constitution. It's an ambitious undertaking in itself, and there's no guarantee that improving our constitution will improve things. However, one thing is certain: if we don't establish a rational constitution, we will continue on our path of self-destruction. What kind of government is best? For me the best government is that which governs the least. We need the government not because it can provide for us but because it keeps us from running into each other. The proper function of government is that of a traffic light: it prevents us from bumping each other, but it does not tell us where to go.
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One Response to The Government Cannot Be Benevolent, and Shouldn’t Even Try To Be

  1. Pingback: The Freedom to be Selfish | Perpetual Cycle of Life

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