American farmers, many of whom have been bankrupted by President Trump’s trade war against China, are undoubtedly ecstatic that this is an election year. That’s because Trump is flooding them with federal monies in the months preceding the election. According to an article in yesterday’s New York Times, “Federal payments to farmers are projected to hit a record $46 billion this year as the White House funnels money to Mr. Trump’s rural base in the South and Midwest ahead of Election Day.”
But make no mistake about it: If Joe Biden were president, he would be doing the same thing, probably to an even greater extent, maybe to people other than farmers. Liberals (i,e., progressives) have long been infamously famous for using the state to take money from those to whom it belongs and give it to those to whom it does not belong. They call this system of mandatory charity, which is based on IRS returns, audits, prosecutions, and incarcerations, “care and compassion.”
This is what the welfare-state way of life has done to Americans. It has made many of them dependent on government largess that is taken from others. It has also made them eager to support any candidate who promises them the most money and other benefits.
Notice that no one asks where all those billions of dollars are coming from. No one ever wants to talk about that. The conservative and liberal mindset is that the federal government is rich and, therefore, able to dole out unlimited amounts of “free” money to people.
But the money is not “free.” It is coming from American taxpayers, either directly through income taxation, or indirectly through federal debt and Federal Reserve inflation. Trump and his cronies are simply taking money from one group of people and giving it to another group of people.
The 19th-century free-market libertarian Frederic Bastiat described this immoral and corrupt way of life as follows: “The state is the great fictitious entity by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else.” The welfare state way of life might just as well be called the plunder-and-loot society, one in which the state, for a generous fee, plunders people for the benefit of others.
Libertarians are fairly consistent about opposing farm subsidies, just as they are fairly consistent about opposing food stamps and public housing. The problem, however, is that many conservative-oriented libertarians support preserving Social Security and Medicare, which are the crown jewels of the welfare state. Given such, they lack the moral standing to oppose the welfare-state programs that they dislike. After all, what can such conservative-oriented libertarians say when farmers, food stamp recipients, or public housing residents ask them, “Why should we give up our favorite socialist program if you’re not willing to give up your favorite socialist programs?”
That’s why it is imperative that libertarians hew to a principled stand when it come to opposing the welfare-state way of life. To achieve the genuinely free society, it is necessary to arrive at a critical mass of people who understand that freedom necessarily requires a dismantling of the entire welfare-state way of life, including the crown jewels of American socialism, Social Security and Medicare.