The Religion of Statism and the Growth of Big Government

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Statism is this era’s secular religion, unconsciously accepted by most of the population, and nowhere is this more evident that in the halls of Congress and state legislatures, where even the so-called “conservatives” engage in a never ending effort to make big government even bigger. (BTW, the word “conservative” in current era has come to mean nothing more than a collection of disconnected prejudices with a reactionary tendency; there is no overriding principle that informs this disposition. More on this in a later post.)

 

Anyway, here’s a small example of that “grow the beast” project in action in the Michigan state legislature. As with most expansions of government this one is small and incremental; its proponents so take the project for granted that they probably aren’t even aware of growing government when they offer a bill like the following , as described by MichiganVotes.org:

 

“Senate Bill 1342, introduced on May 27, 2008, to authorize a new state job training subsidy for particular employers. This would allow a community college to borrow to pay for training a particular employer’s new hires. The principle and interest would be repaid by means of the state transferring to the college a portion of the personal income tax that the particular employer withholds from the pay of new employees. In essence, the subsidy would be paid out of the state general fund. The bill requires the employer to agree to make the amount of the debt a lien on the firm’s property. However the college’s bonds would also be backed by the college’s other revenue sources.”

 

This is sneaky stuff. It’s essentially allowing community colleges to do a little “empire building” on the state’s dime, with the effect of increasing the debt burden of Michigan citizens, but in such a Byzantine manner that it’s hard to follow the money (the liability is formally on the college’s books). It also authorizes subsidies to politically well-connected rent-seekers. The bill is made to look as if the companies will pay for the debt incurred to provide the training, but actually state taxpayers will. And only companies that are able to schmooze the local community college brass into going along will get the special deal.

 

And so it goes . . .  scores of similar little expansions of government and its authority vis a vis citizens are introduced every month in Michigan’s full time legislature, and around a third of them eventually become law. Same-same in every other state legislature, part time or full.

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