By Carla Howell, Political Director, Libertarian Party
This article was originally published in the Dec. 2015 issue of LP News (page 15).
If your goal as a Libertarian is to expand liberty, drive down Big Government, and end or reduce its many failed, destructive programs, nothing can work faster and more effectively than substantially cutting total government spending — and returning every tax dollar saved to the men and women who earned it.
Everything government does wrong — from drug prohibition to foreign meddling, from lousy schools to onerous regulations — costs money to administer and enforce. By dramatically cutting government spending, you put Big Government on a turbo-charged diet.
Democratic and Republican politicians sometimes preach “spending cuts.” But they compulsively practice spending increases.
Their mantra is: What’s good for Big Government is good for everybody.
In reality, it’s only the politicians and their special-interest pals who benefit from higher government spending. Everyday workers and taxpayers lose. Taxes go up. Government debt goes up, so the value of each dollar goes down. Jobs get scarce. Earnings stagnate. Add to that the immeasurable damage caused by the government programs fueled by high spending.
Democratic and Republican politicians claim that more spending will make things better. Wrong again. Most Big Government programs make things worse for the people they’re supposed to help. Just read the book Losing Ground by Charles Murray.
Better yet, ask the surviving family of a veteran who died on a Veterans Administration waiting list because he never got the surgery needed to save his life.
Or look at welfare families who have been trapped in poverty for generations, living in crime-infested housing projects.
What happens when politicians throw more money at schools? Typically, the highest-cost government schools have the lowest graduation rates, the lowest literacy rates, and the worst violence.
High government spending makes things worse — much worse. Cutting government spending will make things better.
You can call for spending cuts across the board, cuts in particular areas of government, or both. But do not leave the money you free up from spending cuts in the hands of Big Government politicians. They’ll just find another destructive, wasteful program to blow it on. Bring down total government spending.
To appeal to voters, couple your spending-cut plan with a proposal to immediately cut taxes by the same amount. This will get the money out of politicians’ hands and put it back into the productive private sector where it belongs.
Cutting a broad-based tax that most people pay — such as the income, sales, or property tax — is the most compelling. Voters recognize that cutting these taxes will benefit them and their families. It motivates them to go to the polls and vote Libertarian.
The benefits of tax cuts to voters include:
“Hundreds or thousands of dollars back in your family budget — every year — to spend, save, or give away as you see fit.”
“More private-sector jobs.”
A Big Government politician’s “jobs plan” creates make-work, fake government jobs. They’re temporary and depend on constant taxpayer funding.
Private-sector jobs require no taxpayer funds. They have to be productive — or they won’t last.
A 2010 Beacon Hill Institute study showed that tax and spending cuts create twice as many jobs in the private sector as are lost in the government sector being cut. Big Government kills jobs. Tax and spending cuts create jobs.
Add to this the many benefits of getting rid of destructive Big Government programs funded by high spending, and you have a powerful, attractive Libertarian solution.