Earlier this week, voters in Florida hit the polls and all indicators show that Mitt "Don't-hate-the-playa-Hate-the-Tax-Code" Romney will win a decisive victory after being trounced by Newt Gingrich in South Carolina just a week-and-a-half ago. The see-saw of Republican primary politics this year hasn't yet removed the patina of inevitability from Mister 15%'s visage - a face rough-hewn from years of living in the "real economy" - but it has certainly dispatched the idea that anyone would get to enjoy the wonders of bean bag this time around.
In addition to summarily destroying the heretofore stellar reputation of a favorite childhood game, the GOP field has managed to maintain a unified position in one other key issue: Big Government. It's big, it's bad and it's coming to get you. And yet there's very little substantive argument on what exactly "Big Government" is, and how exactly it's going to hurt you. We hear the recycled mantra of "Repeal Obamacare" on a daily basis, and yet the arguments that the Affordable Care Act's mandate for citizens to buy private health insurance, is some sort of red-scare government-take-over of health care is...well, dumb.
I heard a dumb person being interviewed on TV earlier today saying that Romney would defend Medicare, unlike Obama who wants us to have "government-run-healthcare." The reporter didn't bother to inform the individual in question that he was dumb, since as most of us who can read have already noticed, Medicare "is" government run healthcare. He also didn't bother to point out that Mitt Romney early endorsed the Paul Ryan budget, which would effectively turn Medicare into a privatized voucher system - something that most Medicare advocates would argue is by definition no longer "Medicare." And finally neither did the reporter have the heart to inform this particular voter that Obamacare is the bouncing brawny baby of Romneycare - how proud is papa Mittens of that?
In the end there's a lot of rhetoric thrown around, designed to get people's waders in a winch about the dangers of "Big Government" in our lives, and frankly I don't know that I want "Big" anyone peering over my shoulder when I'm eating my evening Cheerios. But there's another important point that is oft overlooked. Lately the media has begun to take note that all of the Presidential candidates who rail incessantly against Big Government, are in fact rich people (one of them being much richer than the rest combined...and their ancestors...and their kids). The thing no one is bothering to point out is simple:
In the absence of Government, Rich people ARE the government.
I know it sounds simplistic but think about it historically: who ever heard of the King of France, the Queen of England or the Sultan of Brunei struggling to make their horse & carriage payments? No one. Why? Because they got PAPER son (or as Ron Paul prefers it, they got Gold for every rainy day in the almanac). If they were broke their kingdom would eventually be taken over by the army of some other rich person, and they would either be sent to meet their maker (as Mittens would love to do to Castro), or they'd be turned into some sort of sub-king or duchess in the interests of saving face. But the bottom line remains, historically, rich people have run things. Over time they became clever enough to say, "I run ish because God said so," rather than the proverbial "I run ish because I got guns n scimitars" which always frightened the children.
I can't even pretend to be a proponent of government largesse, as I think there are a world of sensible reasons to curtail the power of the State. That said, the next time some multi-millionaire candidate tells you he or she is here to protect you against the ravages of Big Government, take a moment and ask yourself: after Richie Rich has finished drowning "government" in his golden bidet, who will protect you from him?
Derrick N. Ashong