Big Government Makes the Political Class Wealthier at Our Expense

I’ve often been asked what concerns me most about government size and scope. Of all things, the worst is by far the parasitic effect of self-interested politicians who line their pockets with their power. This is inevitably the consequence of concentrated power.

Unfortunately, this seems to have become the norm today. Leftist politicians, who really permeate both parties, have convinced populist voters that they will save them from any number of fear – immigrations, rich people, trade, etc. As if they really needed saving in the first place.

Of course, the remedy for all of this is more government – a body of people inexplicably exempt from human nature. That is why politicians, unsurprisingly, become wealthier on average alongside growth in the size of government.

Members of Congress are now 14 times wealthier than the average American household. More than half of considered millionaires, while only a small percent is similarly true for Americans.

Congressional wealth is also non-partisan. The political class has discovered it is much more advantageous to lead the government in one direction – mutually beneficial growth. Of the top 20 wealthiest members of Congress, the partisan line is about half.

I personally have no problem with accumulating wealth so long as it is done through mutually beneficial transactions. With the growth of the federal leviathan, I find that difficult to believe within the confines of the Capitol. Growth in the scope of federal reach opens the door to special interests.

Regulatory impositions, growing imperialism, and civil liberty aggression have all created various types of special interests. As Frederic Bastiat predicted, a large state power is being swayed to favor with bribes.

To be fair, some of them made their fortunes prior to taking office. This does not, however, explain the above average growth in median wealth. So why the gains? I suspect the major reason is because they trade stock based on their insider information.

During a CBS news report “The Insiders”, Peter Schwiezer, president of Government Accountability Institute, answered the question of insider trading quite candidly. He said, “The fact is, if you sit on a healthcare committee and you know that Medicare, for example, is considering not reimbursing for a certain drug that’s market moving information. And if you can trade stock on– off of that information and do so legally, that’s a great profit making opportunity. And that sort of behavior goes on.”

The solutions offered by the mainstream, particularly the left, are “government reforms”. Of course, that is double speak for grow government. As if making it larger will reduce the special interest plundering. The left, who so vilifies the wealthy, looks for solutions within a body of extremely wealthy people – ones who actually got rich off plunder.

By reducing the size and scope of government, we can mitigate their susceptibility to special interests. Unless we are willing to do that, complaining about special interest lobbying is really pointless – especially since lobbying will never be made illegal. Unfortunately, political interests have sewn the idea that they are necessary. Even with mounting evidence of corruption, many people are still convinced that politicians are out to protect everyone’s interests before their own.

  1. http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/data-mine/2014/01/09/let-them-eat-cake-members-of-congress-14-times-more-wealthy-than-average-american
  2. http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2015/01/one-member-of-congress-18-american-households-lawmakers-personal-finances-far-from-average/
  3. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/congress-trading-stock-on-inside-information/
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