Monday, July 4, 2011

4th of July and a Balanced Budget

Franklin, Adams and Jefferson
draft the Declaration in this painting
by Jean L.G.  Ferris
When the colonists declared independence from King George in 1776, they said, in actions and in words that they would run their affairs better than the King of England. And after the Constitution was established, we began the giant experiment of Jeffersonian democracy, where we demonstrated that an elected government could run a country better than a King.

At the beginning many disagreed (e.g. Canadians), saying the rabble could not understand complexities of government and would make foolish decisions.

235 years later, the United States has generally run its affairs well, and we know that Kings are not any better than elected governments.

American democracy seems unable to run its own affairs lately -- look at our taxes and spending. I graphed this myself with data from the Brookings Institution's Tax Policy Center.
Taxes have been roughly constant since the mid-1990's. Expenditures grow and grow.
Sometimes I wonder if a philosopher-king could do a better job! Taxes have been bouncing around at the same level since the mid 1990's, but expenditures have soared.

Meanwhile a Prince of England tours Canada; a country with a better budget situation than us.

I am confident that Americans can meet the challenges of self-government. There is no King that is going to fix it for us.