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Big government can't help or save you

GUEST COLUMN

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Ron Paul

Three recent stories regarding three government agencies — the IRS, the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs — show why we should oppose big government for practical, as well as philosophical, reasons.

In recent months, many Americans have missed their flights because of longer-than-usual TSA security lines. In typical D.C. fashion, the TSA claims delays are due to budget cuts, even though Congress regularly increases TSA’s funding.

TSA is also blaming the delays on the fact few Americans have signed up for its “PreCheck” program. Under PreCheck, the TSA considers excusing some Americans from some of the screening process. Those who wish to be considered must first submit personal information and pay a fee. Only a bureaucrat would think Americans are eager to give the TSA more information and money.

TSA is much better at harassing airline passengers than providing security. Agents regularly fail to catch weapons hidden by federal agents testing the process.

Sadly, Congress will likely reward TSA’s failures with continued funding increases. Rewarding TSA’s incompetence shouldn’t surprise us since the agency owes its existence to the failure of government to protect airline passengers on 9/11. If Congress truly wanted to protect airline passengers, it would shut down the TSA.

Private businesses have a greater incentive than government bureaucrats to protect their customers and their property without stripping customers of their dignity.

The head of the VA also made headlines last week when he said it is unfair to judge the agency by how long veterans have to wait for medical care, since no one judges Disney World by how long people have to wait in line. Perhaps he is unaware that no one ever died waiting too long to go on an amusement park ride.

For years socialized medicine supporters pointed to the VA as proof a government bureaucracy could deliver quality health care. The stories of veterans being denied care or receiving substandard care demolish those claims.

If Congress truly wanted to ensure veterans receive quality health care, it would stop forcing veterans to seek health care from a federal bureaucracy. Instead, government would give veterans health-care vouchers or health savings accounts and allow them to manage their own health care.

Congress should also dramatically reduce the costs of providing veterans care by ending our militaristic foreign policy.

Another story last week highlights the one thing government does do well — violate our rights.

The House Judiciary Committee had a hearing on impeaching IRS Commissioner John Koskinen over his role in the agency’s persecution of conservative organizations. Those who value liberty and constitutional government should support impeaching Koskinen.

Truly protecting Americans from IRS tyranny requires eliminating the income tax. Despite some claims, a flat tax would still require a federal bureaucracy to ensure Americans are accurately reporting income.

Since the income tax is one of the foundations of the welfare-warfare state, it is folly to think we can eliminate the income tax without first dramatically reducing the size and scope of government.

The TSA, VA and IRS are just three examples of how government cannot effectively provide goods or services except authoritarianism.

Individuals acting in the free market are more than capable of providing for their own needs, including the need to protect themselves, their families, and their property, if the government gets out of the way.

— Ron Paul is a former congressman and presidential candidate. He can be reached at the RonPaulInstitute.org.

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