Government Waste, Fraud, and Abuse: GSA Behavior Is the Rule, Not the Exception
“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground,” said Thomas Jefferson.
Throughout my life, I have watched this phenomenon play out. Much like a stock-market chart, you may see an occasional upward blip toward liberty, but the general trendline is downward — toward bigger, more intrusive, more controlling government and less individual liberty.
No matter who the president is, no matter which party controls the House or the Senate, decade after decade, this trend has continued. That’s because, with few exceptions, the vast majority in both major parties believe in statism, regardless of what they profess to believe when they’re in front of an audience or a television camera.
Simply put, statism is the belief that government knows best — that it has the omniscience and omnipotence not only to understand people’s problems, but to solve them. Meaning, in real terms, it’s a belief that politicians have the omniscience and omnipotence to understand and solve people’s problems.
This preposterous notion can be best described, in the words of Friedrich Hayek, as “fatal conceit.” Most politicians believe that not only is it the government’s right, but its duty, to boss people around in order to get results which they believe advance the “common good.”
But, as one would expect, such arrogance leads to never-ending hypocrisy on the part of politicians and bureaucrats. Being human, they, like everyone else, desire to improve their lives to the greatest extent possible. And it doesn’t take a politician or government bureaucrat or employee long to figure out that the easiest way to satisfy as many of his needs as possible is through the use of other people’s money.
He is especially motivated by the fact that using other people’s money for his own comfort is generally considered to be legal. Or, if not technically legal, that his theft will get lost in the unwieldy bureaucratic system.
Which is to say that, again with few exceptions, politicians, bureaucrats, and government employees are nothing more than parasites. It’s difficult for a normal businessperson to comprehend how a congressman runs his fiefdom. Can you imagine running your business (1) using other people’s money to pay your overhead and (2) not having to worry about making a profit?
Of course, when a GSA-type scandal comes along, politicians immediately chime in with speeches decrying the “waste, fraud, and abuse” in government agencies. Forget that the waste, fraud, and abuse has been going on since the inception of government. Politicians never fail to feign surprise, indignation, and outrage each and every time a government parasite gets caught with his bloated body in a hot tub.
A few people might even get fired — or, in extreme cases, a scapegoat might be sent up the river for a year or two — but, hear this: Nothing ever changes! Anyone who tells you differently is either ignorant, naïve, or lying.
Everyone on the planet — from businessmen to clergymen, from capitalists to communists — is “greedy” (i.e., everyone has a natural instinct to satisfy as many of his personal desires as possible). That’s not news; it’s just human nature. What causes a GSA-type scandal to become news is the “Chazzer Syndrome” — when someone is so blinded by his greed that he starts flaunting his illicit gains.
In the movie Scarface, drug kingpin Frank offers some advice to newcomer Tony Montana (Al Pacino’s thug Cuban character), “You know what a chazzer (pronounced KHAZ-er) is?”
Tony responds, “No, Frank, you tell me. What is a chazzer?”
Frank then explains, “It’s a Yiddish word for pig. See, the guy, he wants more than what he needs. He don’t fly straight no more.”
So the GSA clowns you see on television — dancing, rapping, sitting in hot tubs and drinking champagne — are simply guys who got caught not flying straight. It’s not wise to become so confident that you can get away with just about anything that you flip the bird to the very people you’re stealing from.
Apologists insist that an entire agency shouldn’t be judged on the unseemly behavior of a few bad apples, but they’re wrong. To one extent or another, this kind of stuff goes on in every government agency, at every level, every day of the year. The chazzers are everywhere, because access to other people’s money breeds pigs. That, too, is the natural progress of things.
But most chazzers don’t get caught — or at least no one challenges their ill-gotten gains.
- Think Nancy Pelosi deciding that she needed a bigger private jet to carry out her economy-killing duties as speaker of the House.
- Think the dynamic duo in the White House using separate, luxurious jets to go on vacation.
- Think Congressmen and women being allowed to engage in insider trading.
Need I go further?
But I take waste, fraud, and abuse beyond the obvious stuff. Here’s the truth that no politician will ever talk about: The very existence of most government agencies and programs — as well as most government actions — should come under the heading of waste, fraud, and abuse.
For example, you may not want to pay for a bloated, economy-killing Environmental Protection Agency, but you are not given a choice. Therefore, the very existence of the EPA is a waste of your tax dollars. The very existence of the EPA is a fraud being committed against you. The very existence of the EPA is an abuse of your liberty.
Ditto food stamps. Ditto unemployment benefits. Ditto minimum-wage laws. Ditto the more than 1,000 U.S. military bases around the globe.
What I’m getting at is that the solution to the GSA antics you’ve been watching in the news lately is not to slap a few bureaucratic chazzers on the wrist. The solution is to get rid of 95 percent of government! (I’m leaving 5 percent on the table so as not to create panic among those readers who still feel the urge to ask, “But don’t we need government for something?”)
Republicans talk about pulling Obamacare out by the roots. Great — let’s do it. But how about pulling government out by the roots as well?
Socialists in Congress are now talking about passing a constitutional amendment to redistribute wealth. I say we need a constitutional amendment to prevent the massive redistribution of wealth we already have.
Let’s put the naïveté aside: Government is not a force for good. Thomas Paine was right when he said that “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.” Today’s government is a criminal activity, and criminal activity is intolerable.
That said, a good note to end on is to pass along another quote from the same white-wigged gentleman (TJ) whom I quoted at the outset of this article: “An occasional revolution is a valuable thing.”
Of course, I would never be one to advocate revolution, but I’ve seen the future and I believe it’s coming. It may take decades of government tyranny before it arrives, but, sooner or later, it will arrive.
In that vein, a parting shot from TJ: “Where the people fear the government, you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people, you have liberty.”
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Copyright © 2012 Robert Ringer
ROBERT RINGER is a New York Times #1 bestselling author and host of the highly acclaimed Liberty Education Interview Series, which features interviews with top political, economic, and social leaders. He has appeared on Fox News, Fox Business, The Tonight Show, Today, The Dennis Miller Show, Good Morning America, The Lars Larson Show, ABC Nightline, and The Charlie Rose Show, and has been the subject of feature articles in such major publications as Time, People, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Barron’s, and The New York Times.
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