Do You Want Smaller Government?

by Harry Browne
Libertarian Candidate for President

(From The Wall Street Journal, October 25, 2000)               

The most important political question you can ask yourself is simply this:

Do you want smaller government?

Do you want an end to the welfare state, to government destroying our health-care system, to government at all levels taking 47% of the national income in taxes, to government intrusions into your life and your business?

Do you want smaller government?

Stop Supporting Big Government

If you do, the first step toward getting it is obvious:

You must stop supporting those who are making government bigger.

You can't go 100 miles east by moving west. It's a physical impossibility.

You can't make government smaller by rewarding those who make government bigger. It's a political impossibility.

Only when you begin asking for what you really want do you have any chance of getting it.

Al Gore wants to make government bigger. He's proposed a long list of new government programs.

George W. Bush wants to make government bigger. He's proposed an equally long list of new government programs to show that he's as compassionate as Mr. Gore as though having government spend your money somehow demonstrates compassion.

What Smaller Government Means

I am the only presidential candidate offering specific proposals to make government smaller much smaller:

  • I want to get the federal government completely out of every area where it's made such a mess health care, education, law enforcement, welfare, foreign aid, corporate welfare, highway boondoggles, farm subsidies. Not only are these programs unconstitutional, they do tremendous damage to our lives.

  • I want to make the federal government so small you won't pay any income tax. (The tariffs and excise taxes already being collected are enough to finance the constitutional functions of government.)

  • I want to free you immediately and completely from the Social Security system. I want to sell off government assets to finance private retirement accounts for anyone now dependent on Social Security so you and I and every other American can immediately stop paying the 15% Social Security tax.

  • I want to end the nightmare of Prohibition by stopping the insane War on Drugs. Most of the recent invasions of your civil liberties have been justified by the Drug War. You may have no interest in drugs, but the government still snoops through your bank account, monitors your email, and claims the power to search and seize your property without due process.

  • I don't want to appoint Supreme Court judges who are "strict constructionists" or who divine "original intent." I want to appoint judges who can read the plain language of the Constitution who understand that the Constitutional words "Congress shall make no law" mean Congress shall make no law. I want judges who will strike down government programs that aren't authorized by the Constitution.

In short, I don't want to slow the growth of government. I don't even want to stop the growth of government. I want to reduce government dramatically to the limits imposed by the Constitution.

What Freedom Means

I want you to be free to live your life as you want to live it not as Al Gore or George Bush thinks you should.

You're the one who gets up every morning and goes to work for 8, 10, or 12 hours a day. How dare George Bush or Al Gore presume to decide how much of what you earn you should be allowed to keep?

I want you to be able to keep every dollar you earn to spend it, save it, give it away as you think best not just the crumbs the politicians leave for you.

I want you to be able to use your own money to put your children in a school of your choice private, religious, or home school without having to beg the state for a voucher or plead with the Board of Education for improvement.

I want you to be able to use your own money to start your own business. Or to support your church or favorite charity in a way you've never been able to do before.

I want you to be free. I want to get government out of your life.

Isn't that what you want?

If so, why would you vote for someone who's moving in the opposite direction someone who's made it clear he intends to make government bigger, not smaller?

I'm the only candidate who's running solely for the purpose of making government smaller. I'm the only candidate who doesn't presume to know what charities your money should go to, how much of your income belongs to the politicians.

Can You Win?

Can I win?

Probably not. But if you vote for anyone else, you won't win either. Your candidate might win, but you won't get what you want. Government will continue to get bigger and more intrusive and you'll have given this your approval.

No matter what your reason for voting for Mr. Bush or Mr. Gore, your vote will be interpreted as an endorsement of every big-government proposal your candidate has made.

Even though I may not win, every vote I get will be an endorsement, a statement, a declaration on behalf of smaller government. No one can confuse a vote for a Libertarian with a vote for more government.

And if I get even one million votes, it could change politics in America forever. It could make the press to take smaller-government proposals seriously, it could encourage other voters to abandon the two big-government parties, and it could attract millions of non-voters who had given up any hope of getting smaller government.

Please don't let the old parties destroy your future by scaring you into voting against someone this year.

Raise your sights. Vote in a way that could lead to a free America with a constitutional government before the end of this decade.

For once, vote for yourself instead of a politician. Vote for freedom.

Vote Libertarian.

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Harry Browne is the Libertarian candidate for President. More of his articles are available at www.HarryBrowne.org.