Every presidential election seems to be built on big promises and fix-it proposals that are going to somehow save America. This election year is no different–from Obama claiming that he is ‘the one……the one we have been waiting for’ to the McCain camp claiming he will fight childhood obesity. Doesn’t it seem absurd to put all our faith and trust into a system run by bureaucrats and influenced by lobbyists? Why are so many people stooped into believing that the executive branch of the United States can solve all their problems? Why the fawning over a preferred candidate?

This weekend I took the rare opportunity to watch 20/20, in which John Stossel investigates the Save America mentality that has enraptured so many. If any of you have seen Stossel in action via ‘Gimme A Break’ segments, you’ve seen an investigative journalist just trying to understand the point of many of the rules and regulations that lock down our society……even exposing their ridiculous nature and dangerous effects. On Friday’s ‘Politically Incorrect Guide to Politics’, Stossel once again illustrates the intrusiveness and ineffectiveness of big government. This snippet shows how presidential promises have more fluff than grandma’s homemade bread; and that society actually functions best by ‘spontaneous order.’ Go figure.

You mean the free market and entrepreneurship actually drive our economy? What a concept. The government doesn’t create jobs……people do? No way. Most change comes from people. And if we want things to get done, we ought to look to the people, not the government. Often times it’s this very government that magnifies a problem.

Example one: While hundreds of folks in New Orleans are still waiting for the government to use the allotted $80 million promised for rebuilding, Habitat for Humanity (based on volunteers) has built 70 homes in the last three years. Mayor Ray Nagin even admitted that “The private sector does it better”.

Example two: Oil. Every president for the last thirty years has promised oil independence. Last time I checked, we weren’t even close.

Example three: Subsidized farming. I can’t for the life of me understand why the government is still doling out millions of tax-payer money to rich farmers to either not plant anything or to ‘save the family farm’. The average farmer makes twice that of the average citizen. In effect, we are helping these ‘poor’ farmers to make ends meet….some of whom have collected more than half a million of your tax dollars and sitting pretty on large estates and private jets. Meanwhile the ‘ma and pa’ farmer is being driven out of business. And I thought government was supposed to help the little guy…..

Example four: Communist countries. Ya’ll remember the government decision-making that went on in the Soviet Union. Let’s see……long lines, shortages, poverty. More government does not equal more economic growth or freedom.

Example five: The credit crisis. Contrary to popular belief, government regulation on the market during the Bush years was NOT decreased. Many experts believe had this been the case, perhaps this mess could have been avoided……or at least been not so consequential. And the bail-out? Probably not the best solution. We’re letting those that caused the problem come in and ‘fix’ the problem.

When government controls every aspect of our lives, it stifles innovation, creates bureaucracy, and clogs the system. An economist on the program stated that presidents have the potential to inflict harm on the economy; not so much enhance.

So why are the American people so bent on electing someone to fix all their problems? Why the belief that an elected official is made of steel and can leap tall buildings in a single bound? And why do the candidates always bloviate with empty promises……promises of which they know they can’t fulfill?

David Boaz of the Cato Institute said it best:

Back off, get out of the way, let people make their own lives better, and take responsibility for your own lives. The government’s role is to balance the budget, protect you from foreign threats, and the rest of your life is your business.

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