Growing up in the United States has both its highs and its lows. I love the freedom that we have and the many different ways we can use it. We still in some ways are the country where someone can go from “rags to riches,” however it does not happen as frequently as it used to. At the same time, we have a government that is now all powerful and can do whatever it wants because there is no power greater than it. When reading Murray Rothbard’s, “For a New Liberty,” he says so many things about our government that is totally correct. In chapter 10, he talks about “Government and Business,” and the things he says scares me, because he is so right.
I know that the businesses in our society that create the most income are those ran by the government. Things such as firefighters, police, electricity, water, and sewage for example are necessities in our society. It seems to me that a lot of our necessities are controlled by the government. If someone wanted to start their own business having to deal with supplying electricity for citizens there is no way he/she could do it. First of all the government would not allow it, however, if we look past that point, the cost of starting something like this is to high for over 99% of our population. And even if someone had enough money, the government would have the ability to reduce their prices so low that the person would have no choice but to go bankrupt. If anyone was to go up against the government, the winner would always be the same.
Something I learned while reading Rothbard is that the government does not need to worry about financial loss or going bankrupt because it will always have the ability to make up for financial loss thanks to the citizens of the United States of America.
“The government bureau does not get its income as does the private firm, from serving the consumer well or from consumer purchases of its products exceeding its costs of operation. No, the government bureau acquires its income from mulcting the long-suffering taxpayer. Its operations therefore become inefficient, and costs zoom, since government bureaus need not worry about losses or bankruptcy; they can make up their losses by additional extractions from the public till” (Liberty 200).
This is something that pisses me off about our country. When the government needs money for a new plant, all they do is take it away from its citizens. I work hard and it frustrates me when I have to pay so much money in taxes so that the government has funding for its projects which will create some product that I will later on have to pay for. The way the government runs is just not fair, and I understand that life is not fair, but if I want to open my own business I first have to find a way in order to pay for everything that I have to have in order to run my business. I’ll tell you what, it would be so easy, oh so easy, if all I had to do in order to start my business was burrow money from others and never have to pay them back. This essentially is what the government does.
Another topic that Rothbard talked about that I found interesting was about the government and “shortages.” He talks about how regular business works compared to how the government does business. “If consumer demand should increase for the goods or services of any private business, the private firm is delighted; it woos and welcomes the new business and expands its operations eagerly to fill the new orders. Government, in contrast, generally meets this situation by sourly urging or even ordering consumers to “buy” less, and allows shortages to develop” (Liberty 201). This is something that I have had to deal with personally. A couple of summers ago Colorado Springs was going through a drought and the city made restrictions so that households could only use a certain amount of water. I remember we were only allowed to water our lawns in the early morning or after sunset. The way they enforced this is by having police periodically driving through the neighborhoods and giving fines to those who were not cooperating with the law. It is just funny to me how a lot of the businesses owned by the government are always restricting us while private businesses are always encouraging us to buy more.
Another thing I hate about the government is that they are never wrong, and it is always us who are wrong. Rothbard gives a great example of this; “Failing to supply enough water, and failing to price that water in such a way as to clear the market, to equate supply and demand (which private enterprise does automatically), New York’s response to water shortages has always been to blame not itself, but the consumer, whose sin has been to use “too much” water” (Liberty 201). I believe that if all of sudden there is a shortage then it is the governments fault for not foreseeing something like this and making changes in its operation in order to avoid it. You would think with all of its resources the government could do something like this but I guess it must be harder than it seems.
I really enjoyed the reading by Rothbard and this honestly is the first reading that I have enjoyed for the class thus far. It probably has to do with the fact that I for the most part agree with his views on our government and the way it does business. I wish I could for one day be one of the people who “are” the government to see what their life is like and see how the government actually works.