Dear Mr. Berko: My wife and I attended your speaking engagement in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., last month.
You made a comment, something like it doesn’t matter if we elect a Republican or Democratic Congress, that the size of the government will always get bigger.
During the q and a period, I asked you to explain that comment, and you said, “It’s too complicated to discuss here,” and promised to write a column about it.
So where’s the column? –LM in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Dear LM: Yes, I did. But I didn’t. Now I have. So here it is.
Among the activities necessary to sustain a life form are the abilities to find food, generate energy from its nutrients, adapt to an environment, grow and reproduce. Unfortunately, common sense, honesty, wisdom and respect are not essential qualifications.
All living things have a survival instinct, a programmed behavior in their DNA that reflexively protects itself from perceived predators and other forms of diminution.
Some call it the law of the jungle. The stronger and the skillful survive because they can quickly adjust to a changing environment, because they have the ability to control resources such as food, shelter and mates and because they are able to protect themselves and their kind from predators.
The strong and skillful ensure their dominance and power over the weak by allocating these resources to a herd, a social group or a larger society. As these resources grow, the strong and skillful will control their availability to ensure the continuity of their power. This is fairly basic stuff.
For hundreds of years, science has toiled to create a life form in laboratories using every imaginable element in every possible permutation under every conceivable condition and has failed. But where science has failed, the politicians have created a life form called “government.” Some say it even has a soul composed of 535 rogue elements.
The nature of government is to control as many resources as possible, expanding its size as more resources (education, social security, health care, banking regulations, food programs, immigration, labor laws, public housing, farm subsidies, etc.) come under its supervision. So with an increasing number of resources under control, government allocates them to the people who become inexorably dependent on its dominion.
It’s a wonderfully simple concept, and it works. By relieving citizens of responsibilities, the people will look to government for their care, comfort and survival, sort of like a puppy’s relationship to its owner.
Government is a nearly perfect artificial life form with a survival instinct stronger than the sum of its parts, but it must grow to survive. But reducing its influence by husbanding assets and diminishing its ability to distribute them would be catastrophic. A reduction in distribution quantity or a redistribution of these assets would cause social and economic disruptions and pockets of anarchy amongst a larger number of citizens who depend on government for care and protection.
Because those consequences are unacceptable, our government must continue to increase the volume of controlled assets and maintain their equitable distribution — or eat its young to survive.
Please address your financial questions to Malcolm Berko, P.O. Box 8303, Largo, FL 33775 or e-mail him at email@example.com