In Jim Cook's Archive


“One can search the Constitution from first word to last and find no authority for Congress to involve itself in education, welfare, agriculture, health care, retirement, the arts, marriage law, or whether baseball players take steroids.”

Michael Tanner

My wife and I disagreed recently about subsidized day care. Someone we know was attempting to get this assistance. It would free her fiancé up from babysitting and he could get a job. My wife thought that this was a worthwhile government program. I claimed that this was not a proper function of government. What would the founding fathers think of a government that, among other things, was collecting taxes to dispense to people for someone to take care of their kids? My wife’s eyes glazed over.

No question, day care is necessary and the market system makes it widely available. If someone can’t afford it, then private charities should be available to help them. However, the government has assumed the role of charities and private institutions. Consequently, there is no need for a private charitable response. It’s just another responsibility that has been turned over to the state.

Now, if someone argues against this government system, they can easily be portrayed as a nut. Who would argue against poor people having day care for their children? Who would suggest that we take this assistance away? In other words, once this government program is imbedded, it’s impossible to ever end it. Since it would harm people to terminate government subsidized day care, it will never happen. There is no charitable alternative. At the time it was first proposed, the best case could be made against it. Now it’s too late. Like all government social programs, it cannot be turned back or ended, it can only be expanded.

Someday, however, this program will end and so will other social schemes, including Social Security, subsidized housing, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment compensation, welfare and all the others. That’s because their costs cannot be controlled. Eventually, they will bankrupt the nation. As their costs rise, taxes will also rise, killing the capitalist goose that lays the golden egg. Reduced tax collections will promote higher tax rates, thus hurting business and leading to further reductions in the amount of taxes collected. Eventually the government will be unable to fund its social programs. This will not be a happy time for anybody.

When you type “Daycare Subsidies” into Google, you turn up the following:

Free government grants for 2007. Billions available. Never repay!

Instant Online Access of $25,000 and up of free government grants and money regardless of income or credit history

You never have to pay back!

Thousands of people receive these free government grants and monies every day. So can you. Claim your slice of the free American Pie!

This kind of excess isn’t solely a knock on subsidized day care. It’s an indictment of the whole government process of taking money from those who earn it and passing it out to those who don’t. Private charity doesn’t allow for this kind of excess. It’s far more discerning about who is deserving and who isn’t. It’s not wasteful. It’s not permanent and it generally makes people begin to rely on themselves. Private charity can apply “tough love” but government never can. While government charity gives the most to those who refuse to help themselves, private charity gives less. Private charity improves society and the human condition. Government subsidies make it worse.

There are two terrible trends in America that mutually reinforce one another. Both are the death knell of civil society. The subsidized underclass grows far faster than the general population. They will use their political power and votes to strip the most productive people of their assets. Through high taxes and expanded social spending they will eventually get what you have. The underclass are a huge cost to society. Their misbehavior, illegitimacy, addiction and bad health strain the legal, penal, social and health systems to the breaking point. Their criminality is a threat to all of us.

Finally, the trend to bigger government as exemplified by free pharmaceuticals for retirees and the possibility of national health care promises a sorry outcome. Apparently every problem of any consequence must now be solved by an expensive government program. As author Robert Higgs puts it, “To continue on the road we Americans have traveled for the past century is ultimately to delivery ourselves completely into the hands of an unlimited government.

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