Would you trust an organization that asks you for monetary donations, but has a track record of not spending those donations wisely? Would you trust a company whose sole job is to make policies, but has failed to make any meaningful policies in the past 20 years? How about an organization that fails to report criminals to law enforcement? I don’t know about you, but I would be very hesitant to trust any of these hypothetical companies. Lucky for us, all these companies exist as a single entity: our federal government. We have always known about the federal government’s inefficiencies, but they have not been of much concern to many citizens. These inefficiencies, some of which are detailed in the below paragraphs, should draw people to the conclusion that less government involvement is better. But that thought process is few and far between in many social spheres.
During Former President Obama’s first term in office, in an attempt to reinvigorate the green energy sector, the federal government invested millions of dollars into green energy companies. One of these companies, Solyndra, epically collapsed under pressure to perform. According to an article published in the Washington Examiner in 2012, the combined losses in Department of Energy loans and tax write-offs allowed to Solyndra totaled 849 million dollars. That was 849 million of the American people’s taxpayer dollars down the drain because the federal government failed to make a sound investment decision with our money. For this very reason, Republicans around the nation distrust the government with their money. As a result, they advocate for lower taxes, which in turn decreases the amount of money that the government could blow away on failed investment strategies like Solyndra.
Since the congressional gridlock that started in the mid 1990’s, the United States Congress has failed to successfully pass much meaningful legislation at all, outside of the Affordable Care Act. The latest legislative failure can easily be seen in the recently failed health care bill. Republicans in the Senate failed to appease their Democrat counterparts enough to warrant a single vote from them in the attempted passage of the bill. As a result, after months of quarreling and Senator McCain’s decisive downvote, the healthcare bill was not passed. Due to the increased polarization of society and political tensions, this legislative body has failed the American people. They cannot operate effectively enough to accomplish their one job, which is to pass legislation. This is why Congress’ approval rating, according to a Gallup Poll done in 2017, is at 16% and 12% by self-identified Republicans and Democrats, respectively. This is also why Republicans want a smaller federal government, since it has proven time and time again that it cannot operate well enough to perform its essential duties.
Earlier this semester there was a mass shooting in Texas at a small church where many people died and many more were severely injured. According to NPR’s Tom Bowman on Morning Edition, the shooter had been charged and convicted of domestic assault while he was in the United States Air Force and spent 12 months in jail before this happened. This information was never relayed to the FBI. If it had been relayed to them, this conviction would have barred the shooter from obtaining any firearms from licensed dealers. Furthermore, the problem with under-reporting these types of convictions is pervasive across all branches of the armed forces. According to Bowman, this had been a problem long before the mass shooting took place, because back in 2007 the House Armed Services committee introduced an amendment titled the National Instant Criminal Background Check System Improvements Amendment which attempted to address this issue. This inefficiency is far too drastic and pervasive to be overlooked as a minor mishap. Failure to report criminal background information on armed forces members to the FBI is a liability that could be contributing to mentally unsound citizens obtaining firearms.
All of this said, some people still think that more government involvement is somehow better. They want the government regulating our healthcare marketplace, increasing welfare checks from our tax dollars to people who have grown eternally dependent on our welfare system, and much more. This is why Republicans across the board are for lower taxes, because we know we can spend our own money more efficiently than the government by tithing to our local churches, donating to local charities or non-profits, or contributing to various causes financially, which support the poor and disadvantaged. This is why Republicans favor a smaller, limited federal government, because we know how sloppily it operates to begin with. This is why Republicans are for deregulation, because either nothing gets passed, or the regulations that do eventually get passed get nowhere close to what the original author of the bill wanted to accomplish. I do realize that there are many arguments to be had against the notions stated above, but I think that no matter which party you belong to, we can all agree that we do not inherently trust the government to some extent. Having this middle ground is essential to thoughtful discussion on how we can either limit the untrustworthy government, or potentially make it operate in better, more efficient ways so that taxpayers dollars are used more efficiently, better regulations are passed, and basic reporting systems are followed.