In light of the recent Wisconsin teachers’ debacle, I thought it prudent to examine the morality of government contracts in general—especially that legislation which includes long-term “guarantees”. The following argument seems to be most prevalent among the teachers unions (and all similar beneficiaries at every level of government): “we were promised such and such at this time or that by our public representatives, and now said promises must be kept!”
But, by who was the promise made, and on whose behalf? By what right does a government representative negotiate the money of unknowing or unborn generations? We the people are on the hook for a multitude of thoughtless government interventions and we had absolutely no say when so many of these obligations were borne.
On behalf of the present people of Wisconsin past representatives negotiated large teacher pensions which, now, are coming due—and rocketing debt. On behalf of the present citizens of the United States past representatives obliged an unknowing generation to fund the retirement of a disproportionately aging population by way of Social Security; the debt of the people continues to grow.
The argument so often prevails, both in Wisconsin and Washington, which claims the people have an obligation to continue to fund projects and contracts which were agreed upon in the past. After all, it was elected representatives of the people who have offered the benefits and if we cannot follow through on such “representative” promises, what is to become of governance? Is it not the purpose of our elected officials to negotiate in this way? Shouldn’t we bow to the noble foresight of our grand leaders of the past? Well let it be known that the argument to cease the numerous unsustainable benefits holds a higher moral ground because the present generation HAD NO SAY IN THESE MATTERS! And while the present generation may have little voice, future generations are just plain screwed.
Public beneficiaries seem to find difficulty in understanding that it is not the few over-promising public officials who are meant to fulfill these contractual “obligations”; it is, rather, the unpromising present and future taxpayers who must withstand the misfortune of being the most unknowing party in these past agreements. Considering that a large portion of the present people of this country had little to no say in these long-term guarantees, and future generations no say at all, a most extraordinary discrepancy presents itself within the contractual obligation—it is they (the present and future people) who have been imposed with the most effectual obligation.
(All of this, which seems like criminal activity in and of itself, and I have not even made mention of the demonstrably wasteful way in which the seized monies are implemented.)
As a consequence of my continued exoneration of “the people”, some may be quick to point out: are these employees of the government not also “the people”? In the most important sense: no. Upon becoming a member of the government, upon positioning oneself to usurp the property of the taxpayer, one has no right to consider oneself a part of the class which provides one’s primary sustenance. The government beneficiaries wish to seize the assets of the people for their own eternal benefit.
The people of Wisconsin and the people of the country should feel absolutely no obligation to fund liabilities which were sourced in a time and place that offered them (the people) absolutely no position at the negotiating table. Employees of the government are to be our servants, not our lords. If we wish to take from them, we should do so at our will, for it is our money and we should do with it what we please. Feel no guilt—they have none in their ignorantly wanton protest.