Ron Paul: Government Is Not A Business – OpEd

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Amid the din of economic nonsense being bandied about since the collapse of the housing bubble and the steep ramping up of our national debt there has been the persistent refrain that Washington should be “run more like a business”. If only more businesspeople were in charge to wield their business acumen, we would have this country in shape in no time. But is that a good solution? Businesses seek primarily to increase their revenues and profits; government revenues depend on taxes. Government accumulates tax money by squeezing it out of people’s productive earnings with threats of audits, fines and imprisonment. Our government already collects roughly $2.1 trillion annually from the productive taxpayers of America. We hardly need to increase our federal government’s revenues like a private business.

Businesses sell products or services to voluntary buyers, always looking to increase their market share as much as possible. But what is the federal government’s product or service? Rules, regulations, bureaucracy, paperwork, red tape, hoops to jump through, uneven protection and security from people with guns, coercion and compliance to force and confiscation of assets, militarism instead of national defense, and of course a vast welfare state. Do we need more of these government services? Hardly. In fact, we have far too many of these destructive things already.

What we need is more freedom. Freedom is the simple ability of people to live their lives as they see fit, without government coercion, provided they do not initiate force or fraud against others. What we really need is a less coercive government, not more revenues. Washington needs to stop seeing itself as a growth industry and realize that the true function of government is to protect liberty. Washington certainly has expanded and grown and accumulated a great deal of the people’s capital for itself, but this has been at the expense of our nation’s prosperity. This trend needs to be reversed. We don’t need yet another jobs bill to supposedly put the American people back to work.

Politicians need to realize that aside from outright hiring some 14 million people, government does not create jobs. The only thing government does is hinder job creation by getting in the way and consuming otherwise private resources. Therefore the most useful thing government can do for unemployment is to liquidate much of what government does in the first place.

One plain example is our tax policy that encourages U.S. corporations to accumulate foreign earnings abroad rather than repatriate such earnings. Currently there is over $1 trillion of capital that companies are keeping overseas because of the 35% tax charge for bringing it back to the United States. Our government literally is pushing capital and jobs overseas, and that could be used to hire an estimated 2.5 million people here at home.

Businesses create jobs. Government is not a business. We don’t need more stimulus or phony jobs bills. We don’t need more revenue – $2 trillion is plenty to fund the federal government annually. What we do need is a wholesale rejection of government as a central economic planner.


About the author:

Ron Paul

Ronald Ernest "Ron" Paul (born August 20, 1935) is an American physician, author, and politician who has been serving as the U.S. Representative for Texas's 14th congressional district, which includes Galveston, since 1997. He is a three-time candidate for President of the United States, as a Libertarian in 1988 and as a Republican in 2008 and 2012.

10 thoughts on “Ron Paul: Government Is Not A Business – OpEd”

  1. I’ve long held the assumption that successful businessmen are the superior political leaders. I realize now that I hadn’t fully thought that through because I was simultaneously critical of big business practices currently harming the US.

    I think you’re very right in this article, about the clear differences between the goals of a business and of a government. Thank you!

  2. Well said, Dr. Paul. We certainly do not need a businessman involved in an Enron-like scandal or another who is more of a venture capitalist, sending jobs overseas to save money, running our country. It’s time to get some common sense responsibility in the White House and you will get my vote!

  3. I’ve been slightly leery of Ron Paul up until now. The more I learn about the man, his ideals and his record, the more I think this is the type of leader America needs. This op-ed sealed the deal for me. I was leaning towards Cain for the past couple of months or so, but I’ve made up my mind and Paul is getting my vote for the Republican nomination.

  4. Awful article. Without government we’d be back in the gilded age, living in misery. We need universal healthcare, and we need to prevent the short term opportunists that have been running rough shod all over the economy, raking in money at the middle class’ expense from doing so. So much of the economic growth has been funneled into a narrow segment of the population that the middle class has actually seen their wages decrease in a period where the economy doubled. We need more dollars in the hands of middle class, working Americans if we want to see a real, lasting recovery.

  5. My family from as long as I can remember has voted strict democratic. This man will change my mind. I’m surprise this article hasn’t received more comments and coverage…..wait, no I’m not surprised. “End the Fed” brought my awareness on sound money to a whole new level but this article I have started sharing with everyone I know it is the deal sealer for me.

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