I saw this question posed somewhere on the toobes at some point this week. I wish I had saved the address. I think this is a very good point.
To all those ultra-conservatives who believe that the federal government in the U.S. should be really tiny (e.g., Grover “drown it in the bathtub” Norquist), what exactly do you think would happen next? What form of society do you really want to have?
Do you, for instance, think that there would all of a sudden be a Garden of Eden where all us lovely individuals with lots and lots of freedoms from government would just get along swimmingly? Would all multi-national corporations suddenly behave themselves and have their customers’ satisfaction, money and safety in mind as their first priority? There wouldn’t be any big businesses that would, say, dump tons and tons of pollutants into rivers and lakes so that the entire region would be so polluted that human life might be endangered? Would, perhaps, financial institutions really care about their customers such that their financial interests were protected? Would insurance companies really insure everyone who needed insurance, or would they cherry pick those who didn’t need it? Would airlines, for instance, set up their own air traffic control system so that airplanes wouldn’t run into each other in the air or on the ground? Would electrical power companies build nuclear power plants that were really, really safe, so that an accidental release of radiation could never happen?
What do these people expect would happen if government really stopped paying attention to anything but going to fight wars overseas? Is this really what those people want? These huge corporations have proven, time and time again, that they only thing they care about is making massive amounts of money, and they don’t really care if they being unethical, unsafe or downright evil to do it. All they care is making tons of money, as fast as they can.
Is this really what the proponents of itty-bitty government really want to unleash on our society; a total abdication of oversight of huge corporations that affect our daily lives much more than does the federal government? That is what they want? You think that the rich and powerful would just sit back and “do the right thing” just because there was no federal government to check whether or not they were following the regulations?
That is a rhetorical question, of course. No, these cutthroats would not sit idly by. They would find every single method of being the “big dog” in the country, and if it means that normal people must exist in poverty, in hunger, in the cold and dark, for them to do it, well, that’s capitalism, the best economic system in the world!