Parasitic Government

All government is parasitic, but government without limits saps the life blood of its host in ways that imperil the private sector and eventually kill it. That is the kind of government the Biden Administration and Democrats in Congress are creating for America, a kind where the private sector is destroyed and government takes over in its place. 

The era of big government is back again, with a vengeance.

What Joe Biden, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and other leading Democrats are seeking nothing short of socialism. The Inflation Reduction Act is but the latest move to kill the private sector in that it helps cripple an already weakened economy. Its byproducts are unemployment (some 30,000 people will lose their jobs); less private discretionary spending (nearly every taxpayer will experience a tax increase and will pay more for fossil fuels); and a lot more federal scrutiny over every Americans’ tax returns (an $80 billion army of approximately 87,000 new IRS agents).

Biden’s policies have caused the private sector to falter. The $700 billion Inflation Reduction Act is one of many policies doing this work. (The others include the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Act and the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure and Jobs Act.) Massive federal spending spurs inflation, which further undermines an already weakened economy. A majority of Americans now associate Democratic rule with inflation, high fuel costs, lower incomes, higher taxes, and more human misery. 

Government creates no wealth itself. It depends on taxation to sap from the resources from the productive to finance legal mandates. So voracious has the appetite for government spending become that expenditures routinely surpass receipts, saddling the nation with over $31 trillion in debt to date and imposing excessive restrictions on the supply of goods due to over-taxation (and its sister, regulation) and runaway inflation (excess money supply causing too many dollars to chase too few goods). 

Our founders appreciated the inherent dangers of parasitic government. They chose to create instead a republic of constitutionally limited powers to guard against the oppression and tyranny that invariably arises when government growth renders individuals neither free to profit from their productive pursuits nor free to direct expenditure of profits they have earned.  

The $700 billion oxymoronically entitled Inflation Reduction Act would have been their worst nightmare: it simultaneously restricts economic growth through taxation on the productive (actually causing negative growth in the gross domestic product) while fueling inflation with excess government spending (that atop an already massive, ongoing infusion of federal dollars into the market from the American Rescue and Infrastructure and Jobs Acts).

Just two decades into the 19th century, Thomas Jefferson lamented that the republic suffered from too much parasitic growth. Imagine his reaction today. In his September 6, 1824 letter to William Ludlow he wrote: “. . . [W]e have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.” 

Were the founders to see what has become of the republic they established, they would surely be appalled by the profound loss of liberty, property, and even life resulting from the gargantuan growth of the national government, a growth that has enslaved the citizenry to an overbearing government now in control of virtually every aspect of life and commerce. 

America’s founders understood government growth comes at the expense of individual liberty. The socialist state now sought by the Biden Administration and Democratic leaders in Congress is alien and anathema to the freedom-centric republic the founders gave us, a republic—as the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence makes clear—instituted for the very purpose of protecting the rights of the governed. The government the Biden Administration and Democratic leaders are building increasingly gives government unlimited control through an extra-constitutional administrative state over every aspect of American life. 

The obvious aim of creating a massive new army of IRS agents is to squeeze even more from the most productive, to expend $80 billion to eke out tens of thousands more annually from the already over taxed without the slightest regard for how this will stifle economic growth. Even without the additional 87,000 IRS agents tax receipts have risen year after year (even with the pandemic and without tax increases): FY 2018 ($3.33 trillion); FY 2019 ($3.46 trillion); FY 2020 ($3.7 trillion); and FY 2021 ($3.86 trillion). There is no demonstrable need for this new IRS army, and there is every reason to fear abuse of IRS power in light of the Lois G. Lerner scandal against conservative nonprofits (with many responsible for the unlawful conduct never brought to justice).  

By signing on to the Inflation Reduction Act, Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), and Schumer rejected the founders’ prescription for good government. It is a slap in the face to taxpayers, private industry, the productive, the profitable, and future generations. 

So long as their own oxen are not gored, Manchin, Schumer, and leading Democrats are delighted to violate private rights to achieve political objectives, objectives that invariably place government bureaucrats ahead of private decision makers in making what would otherwise be private choices. The parasite of big government thereby not only drains the productive of resources but saddles them with regulatory constraints that cripple and enslave them.

The effect of taxation, particularly during an economic downturn, combined with heavy regulatory restraints on market activity and with redistributive spending is to compound human misery by reducing supply (which also raises costs), increasing inflation (which harms the poor and those on fixed incomes most), and disincentivizing productive labor (which invites a downward economic spiral, leading to ever worsening inflation, unemployment, and even starvation).

Our founders convincingly made the case to the world that individual liberty is God-given, not derived from the state, and it is the key to human happiness. Preserving that depends on a government “bound down by the chains of the Constitution,” Jefferson wrote. We invite tyranny when we abandon government limits designed to protect liberty. 

In Jefferson’s words to Isaac Tiffany on April 4, 1819, “rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will, within the limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual. The Biden Administration and Democrats in Congress have repeatedly proven themselves enemies of liberty; they richly deserve the title of tyrant. Their tyranny is succeeding bill by bill, regulation by regulation, in poisoning the private sector and replacing our constitutional republic with something never intended by our founders. They have betrayed America.

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About Jonathan W. Emord

Jonathan W. Emord is a constitutional law attorney and author of The Authoritarians: Their Assault on Individual Liberty, the Constitution, and Free Enterprise from the 19th Century to the Present (2021).

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