Now that the tax credits and serious other governmental goodies are firmly in place for the eligible, it’s not just that the irony seems to be lost on those up to their eyeballs in it, it’s that their hypocrisy needs to be fully understood. Irony? Hypocrisy? Irony in that those gleefully swimming in it are oblivious to its internal contradictions; hypocrisy in that if and when they get it, they don’t seem to be much bothered by it — knowingly gaming two opposing government forms to their advantage.
“I-wanna-be-free” and “Don’t tread on me” (IWBF/DTOM) libertarian-leaning types want the government to be as small, invisible and hands-off as possible during the good times, but, turning on a dime during times of emergency, want their government to be as big and financially unfettered as possible. Do they not see the painfully obvious? The kind of fat government they want and demand in crisis, cannot spring emergency-ready from the skinny government they otherwise demand during the good times.
Big government programs providing big money and big benefits with big rescues and bailouts and massive expensive infrastructure maintenance projects and repairs cannot spring instantly by mere demand fully formed like Athena from the head of Zeus. Such programs must be kept expensively at the ready for emergencies. FEMA cannot simply snap its fingers and by some magic have billions of dollars, brigades of rescuers, and fleets of mechanized heavy equipment materialize out of thin air without having such things poised and primed for disaster use.
Didn’t all those who wanted government on the cheap demand to be expensively rescued when stranded by floods? IWBF/DTOM people remain in their homes when a hurricane hits, then want to be rescued by expensive fleets of equipment and pricey corps of courageous emergency responders at risk, exhausted and working overtime? Not only to rescue, but to clean up, repair and restore as well.
Didn’t they also cash their recent state and federal windfall unemployment and tax credit checks arriving regularly? Don’t all those IWBF/DTOM people on Social Security cash their regularly arriving checks? Don’t all those IWBF/DTOM types on Medicare and Medicaid not avail themselves of the health services available through big government senior health benefit programs? IWBF/DTOM people still want enhanced and extended state and federal unemployment and multiple other benefits, while condemning the expansiveness of the government doling it all out. They seek bountiful government largess while pouring contempt on its necessary largeness.
IWBF/DTOM club members want it both ways and seemingly do not see the incongruities of their wishes. Tuition-indebted college and university students took the ready money then want their student loans forgiven. Homebuyers scramble for big government-backed mortgages and then want to have that big government stand behind them with eviction-moratorium laws and rent and mortgage financial assistance? Flood-isolated and endangered IWBF/DTOM people want expensive rescue helicopters to pluck them out of danger; fire-threatened IWBF/DTOM people want massive armies of equipment and first-responders to immediately materialize (from where?) to extinguish menacing flames and then go away and not require the maintenance necessary to have them ready for the next emergency? Upon need, the feds have moved entire low-income towns farther inland away from rising seas and out of flood zones. IWBF/DTOM types expect the music, but don’t want to pay the piper?
They want national security to be a top priority with the world’s most fearsome and well-equipped military ever ready for immediate and formidable response but want that same government to run the Pentagon on a shoestring. They wring every personal benefit possible from big government while cursing its size? They happily take the pork, but rail against having to pay for it? Go figure.
How about this: Like medical insurance, let’s have people individually purchase the kind of government they want. Bigger premiums get you bigger government with bigger benefits and rescues. Smaller premiums get you smaller government with correspondingly smaller benefits and fewer smaller rescues. And then we register them accordingly and hold them to the benefit plan they bought. Think the IWBF/DTOM public will buy this? No? Me neither.
B. McDill, Ph.D., of Bakersfield is a retired psychologist and an associate of CSUB’s Kegley Institute of Ethics.