I am a fan of movies! I am sure a lot of you are too. I like all kinds — westerns, sci-fi, action, adventure and comedies. One of my favorites and best comedies of all time is Animal House. One of the funniest scenes in that movie is when the pledges to the frat house were being paddled and were all forced to say, “Thank you, Sir, may I have another.” A recent column in The Herald made me think of that scene in Animal House.

More government and more government is the point of the column and government solves the problems created by private citizens. The column gave examples of how government control has supposedly helped the cause of average Americans, but I believe it failed to point out the real history of what government has done.

Of course, there are more reasons than just deregulation that caused the Texas power outages.

One reason — Fifteen years ago, there were virtually no wind farms in Texas. Last year, roughly a quarter of all electricity generated in the state came from wind. Local politicians were pleased by this. They bragged about it like there was something virtuous about destroying the landscape and degrading the power grid.

Just a week earlier, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott proudly accepted something called the Wind Leadership Award, given with gratitude by Tri Global Energy, a company getting rich from green energy. So, it was all working great until the day it got cold outside. The windmills failed. More government did not work in that case.

That is merely one example of how more government has not been or will not be the answer for a free society to go to for a fix to their problems, in my opinion. President Ronald Reagan was correct when he said, “the most terrifying words in the English language are, I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

How about the VA? That is government healthcare at work. While the VA is rooted in noble intentions, it has been plagued with problems for years. The VA has faced reports of excessive and contradictory spending, allegations of inadequate health care, a massive backlog of benefits claims and long wait times for veterans to receive care.

Do you want the government to build you a bridge? How about a bridge to nowhere? A notorious 2005 earmark authorized $452 million to build two bridges in Alaska — including one that became known as the so-called “bridge to nowhere,” which would have connected the city of Ketchikan to Gravina Island, home to only a few dozen people.

There are numerous examples I could site to show anyone just how government has not been the answer in some instances. The single biggest failure of government is undoubtedly the money spent on the “War on Poverty.”

The United States has dramatically increased federal spending fighting poverty over the last 55 years. Total welfare costs have risen from $722 per person in poverty in 1964 to $22,740 per person in 2019. Even without including health care costs (Medicaid), we spent $681 per person in poverty in 1964, which steadily increased to where in 2019 we spent $10,693 per person.

Most of the welfare programs were created over the past 55 years and all of them expanded their scope and reach over this timeframe. Yet, despite the increase in spending, the poverty level has remained fairly constant at between 11 percent–15 percent of the population. We have spent more and more money, but have not lessened the number of people in poverty. Some estimates are that in total the government has spent $27 trillion dollars since 1964 to combat poverty. Read that again — $27 trillion!

Lastly, the column said that every republican voted against the COVID Relief Act that passed last week. I want thank everyone of them personally! Well done! Why do I thank them? Simple — The bill calls for roughly $1.9 trillion in spending. Of that, $265 billion — or about 8.5 percent of the bill — is specifically listed for things like COVID testing, protective gear, treatments, vaccines and distribution.

In my opinion, the COVID-19 “Relief” Bill includes spending items for countless issues that have nothing to do with the pandemic. The bill wastes taxpayer money on everything under the sun while our country continues to rack up trillions in debt that our children and grandchildren will have to pay off. Sure, anyone can say other items in the bill are actually related to the pandemic, but none of them are directly. At best, it is political speak, political jargon and meaningless.

The great Milton Freidman once said, “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years, there’d be a shortage of sand.”

No thank you, sir. I will not have another.

This column was written and submitted to The Circleville Herald by Gary Swingle. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.

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