"The government is all of us," said Hilary Clinton, talking her book.
This myth helps keep the voters and the taxpayers in line. Some governments, in order to get more "buy in" from the public even insist that eligible voters go to the polls - or face penalties. In Argentina, for example, you can collect welfare benefits - but only if you can prove you voted. In other words, you have to stand on your hind legs before they throw you a bone.
Other countries, such as the US, merely excite the voters with dreams of avarice and threats of sanctions. One group votes because it hopes to score more of other peoples' money. Another votes to protect itself.
Among 'get out the vote' campaigns, Denmark's recent cartoon effort must set a new milestone in the history of democratic fraud and absurdity. The Financial Times reports:
Politicians want you to vote so they can claim to represent you. Then, they do what they want. Like any other organization, government promotes the goals of those who control it. In that sense, it is no different from the Kiwanis Club or the electric power company. Every business, club or charitable institution is meant to do something...and always and everywhere it does what the people running it want done.
This is not a bad thing. In a civilized society, as Adam Smith explained, it is self-interest that fills the marketplace with products and services.
A baker counts on the hunger of his clients to fill his own stomach. A cobbler depends on others' sore feet to enable him to shoe his own family. But an oligarch? This bird sings a different song altogether. He provides no real service...produces no real product...and exchanges no tit for no tat. Instead, he feathers his own nest with forlorn hopes plucked from an ignorant and impotent public.
The voters believe they are in charge. They believe the government - as imperfect as it is -- nevertheless reflects the desires of the public, as filtered through elections, lobbyists, and back-room deals. It is not a perfect system, the voter bravely tells himself, trying to recall Churchill's words, but it is better than the alternatives.
But by voting, the poor democrat sets himself up for disappointment and despoliation. Ouch...he loses a feather to the financial industry. Ouch...another to the health care oligarchs. Ow! There go a few to the farm lobby. Before you know it, he is as naked as a Christmas goose....cooked in his own stupid juices.
"The government that governs least, governs best," said Jefferson. He understood it better. All governments work for their masters - the elite, the oligarchs. All are essentially parasitic, larcenous...and often, murderous. The more government you have...the worse off you are.
Bill Bonner is the President & Founder of Agora Inc, an international publisher of financial and special interest books and newsletters.