Dr. Mark Skousen is a renowned economist who recently shared the A&W Pledge For Better Government on CNBC with Rick Santelli. I found his points very interesting and wanted to share them with you here.
A stands for Accountability — the conviction that the “user pays” to keep costs down and improve the quality of all goods and services, including government services. Accountability means competition and choice, along with an educated public.
You can see why Republicans are attracted to the concept of Accountability.
W stands for Welfare. It means that we only help those who are needy. We help those who need help, but by the same token, we don’t help those who don’t need help. Otherwise, we are subsidizing the rich and the well off. We destroy the initiative of the people who don’t need our help.
Democrats are attracted to the Welfare principle. They want to help others who are in stress, but they also realize that government should not be in the business of making the rich get richer.
The trick is to have the right balance between A & W, between Accountability and Welfare. If government officials and legislatures are too generous, the W interferes with the A, and everyone suffers.
A & W at work
Let’s see how the A&W principles work out with various government programs.
First, the single-payer healthcare system found in Canada, the United Kingdom and other parts of the West violates both the A&W principles. The user never pays, the government does, so there is waste, inefficiency and long lines. And the single-payer system is equally available to rich and poor. No wonder there are so many problems with single-payer systems.
Second, Social Security and Medicare conform to A but not to W. Users pay into these two government programs, but then they are heavily subsidized by the state. Should the taxpayer be paying for Warren Buffett’s or Bill Gates’s retirement or medical bills? Most Americans would say no.
The A&W principle suggests that there should be a means test applicable to both programs as a way to solve the unfunded liability problem. I firmly believe the government should aid those who need help but not those who don’t need it, especially the wealthy. By adopting a means test, the government could greatly reduce the cost of these Great Society programs.
Third, Medicaid and Food Stamps (SNAP) programs violate A but not W — until recently. There always has been a means test with these welfare programs. If a family of four earns more than $25,000 a year, they don’t qualify for food stamps or Medicare. Moreover, under the Welfare Reform Act of 1996, able-bodied citizens lose their welfare after five years. But the financial crisis of 2008 eliminated that requirement. Even today, more than 42 million Americans are on food stamps and Medicaid. The W side of A&W should not be so generous as to create a permanent welfare class.
There are many other ways to apply the A&W principle. The ones listed here have only scratched the surface.
I firmly believe that both sides of the political aisle could sign the A&W Pledge and work together to make America great again.
Don’t Drink the Purple Kool-Aid of Big Government, Drink the A&W Root Beer of Good Government!
Action to take: I suggest you send an empty can or label of A&W root beer to your state and federal representatives and to the President. Tell them to take the A&W Pledge and make government strong and efficient as the founders intended.
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