A zero-sum game

Over 250 years ago, Benjamin Franklin described our modern welfare system:

In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer.  And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.

To put it another way, if people don't have to work for their own sustenance, they won't.  They will take the easy way.

This trait of human nature, moving to ease, is being cleverly manipulated by those who seek total government control.

The anti-freedom cabal has discovered that to get a majority, it needs a message that is simple, desirable, enticing.  What is this magic message?

"Free stuff."

Free health care, free college, free housing, free food, free child care, free phones, free minimum income, just to name a few.  Ask yourself: how many unthinking people would succumb to this enchanting siren song of "free stuff"?  Who wouldn't take the easy way?

Is there an antidote to "free stuff"?  Fortunately, there is. It is found in an understanding of how the real world works.  It is simple, clear, and inarguable.  Any high school student can understand its truth.

What is this simple yet powerful antidote to "free stuff"?  Competition, waste, and ease. 

To understand these concepts, let's start with the operation of living nature.  One of the central tenets of the environmental movement is that there is no waste in nature.  What drives waste out of nature?  Competition.

Competition and waste are connected.  Imagine them seated on opposite sides of a seesaw.  As competition goes up, waste goes down.  Conversely, as competition goes down, waste increases.  Nature is a perfect competitive system because there is no waste.

Nature's animals, just like people (we must not forget we are animals), also move to ease.  There are signs in all national parks saying, "Do not feed the animals."  If animals don't have to hunt (work), they won't.

Now let's apply these concepts to the marketplace.  Competition is good – it keeps the marketplace healthy (Adam Smith's "invisible hand of the marketplace") – while waste is bad and is avoided as much as possible. 

The marketplace functions based on people's desire for ease.  Competition drives products and services to get better and cheaper and continually brings us new inventions and innovations to make our lives easier.  The whole basis of trade is to make things easier.  Otherwise, why engage in it?

What might be surprising is that the marketplace operates exactly like nature.  Competition drives out waste and keeps the system healthy.

Government is different.  There is no competition, so there is necessarily going to be waste.  A percentage of the money we send to Washington will be wasted.  The more we send, the more waste there will be.  It is unavoidable because of the lack of competition.

This, then, is the antidote to "free stuff": the understanding that government, no matter who is in charge, is going to waste the money sent to it.  The more that is sent, the more waste there will be.  It can provide "free stuff," but over time, the "free stuff" is going to cost so much that no one will want it.

In other words, you can't have a successful "free stuff" program because the underlying foundation won't support it.  Unavoidable waste is the reason.  

Benjamin Franklin warned us of this.  In his famous speech at the close of the Constitutional Convention, he predicted how our country might end:

[It] can only end in Despotism as other Forms have done before it, when the People shall become so corrupted as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other.

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