Unpublished but submitted to C&EN, March 2011
No longer is the reader left to wonder just how liberal Rudy is – clearly he falls into the extreme left camp of Michael Moore et. al. In one breath saying we’re not broke and the next how large our expenditures are is a masterful sleight of hand! Stating that our government is not broke because we are a “rich[est] country” contains the underlying frightful implication that the wealth of this nation somehow rightfully belongs to all citizens equally i.e. “we wouldn’t be broke if the government just took what it needed.”
But don’t blame Rudy, he’s a product of our state sponsored educational establishment and a liberal media that thoughtlessly promotes a Keynesian worldview, namely that the solution to economic woes is via confiscation (taxes) of private resources (wealth) in order that the state more capably and wisely spend those resources. This view of the world is fundamentally flawed and will lead to the failure of any society that follows it to its logical end (see: former Soviet Union, Cuba, North Korea).
As C&EN is a putatively science centric media outlet I believe its readers would be interested to learn (as I was) that there is an approach to economics that views it not as an artificial human invention but rather for what it actually is: the natural productive interaction between organisms (humans in this case). When one grasps this understanding then economics is transformed into a thing of beauty like any other natural process be it chemical or biological. This school of thought is known as the Austrian school of economics and stands in stark contrast to the Keynesian model (see www.mises.org).
So the question Rudy should be asking is not “is government CAPABLE of productive activity… beyond… defense” but rather “SHOULD government do anything beyond defense?” The answer is a resounding NO. The last time I checked “advancing the economic interests of the … state” is not anywhere to be found in the Constitution.
I realize some will disagree; however most disagreements will stem from an incomplete set of data. Any who disagree owe it to themselves to learn more if interested by reading “Mystery of Banking” by Murray Rothbard (download for free at mises.org/Books/mysteryofbanking.pdf). For those with a rational, logical, scientific approach to arguments and problems I know you will appreciate the clear and logical manner in which the Austrian outlook on economics is explained in this book.