Even the best-intentioned politicians and bureaucrats need to assign resources to carry out the functions authorized to the offices they occupy. They must make resource allocation decisions based on the information available to them. This involves determining how much of, and what type of, available resources should be devoted to achieving the limitless field of activity that can be categorized as “the general welfare” or “the common defense”. The resource allocation decision-making process is inherently fraught with problems that are only exacerbated by politico-bureaucratic security production methodologies.
The demand signals feeding the defense and welfare priorities come from political wrangling, the highly manipulable public opinion, and sensationalized media reports. Every issued raised in common discourse is always framed as a priority for government action, leading to a total disregard for the limited authorities set forth by constitutional principles.
Rather than asking if an issue is appropriate for government involvement, the question is always framed as one of what government policy should be.
Remember Chilly Willy and his answer to the question of more butter or syrup for his pancakes. The answer is always yes, please!
There are no authentic profit or loss signals when resources are under political control and bureaucratic management. As such, there is no economizing of resources. This means that resources cannot be directed toward their most highly valued ends from the standpoint of
the tax-paying security, or other governmental services, consumer.
The average tax-paying citizen has an average of a 1 in 770,000 chance of casting the deciding vote for one representative that will sit in a congress of 435 members that is supposed to address every concern labeled general welfare and common defense for a republic of 50 states, 14 ‘territories’, and approximately 330 million people.
Contrast this to the various welfare and security concerns an individual has. Here are just a few:
1. Health insurance.
2. Life insurance.
3. Homeowner or renter’s insurance.
4. Car insurance.
5. Personal security
6. Home or property security.
8. Credit monitoring.
9. Physical fitness and martial readiness.
10. Food supplies and prepping.
While some of these security and welfare related products can be bundled with other services, like a homeowner’s association, the majority of these consumer products, at the individual level, are purchased separately. Most insurance companies are not gun stores, nor do they install alarm systems. This is a function of the division of labor and task specialization in the free market.
Yet, under political decision-making and bureaucratic management, each citizen, at the national level, has a one in seven hundred fifty thousandths of a chance to elect one representative that is supposedly going to cast a one in four hundred thirty-fifth chance of enacting legislation that will bring about a ‘one size fits all’ solution for all the various security needs held by a population of approximately three hundred and twenty million people across a vast and diverse geographic space.
In the field of ‘common defense’ and ‘general welfare’ the individual tax-paying consumer’s preferences are completely divorced from the decision-making process. As a consequence, the political-bureaucratic provider has little incentive to adjust their offerings to suit consumer demands. In fact, in the absence of market-based choices, these security and justice providers have no mechanisms for even comprehending what tax-paying consumers really want protected or which problems should be remedied.
In short, leaving security and justice related concerns in the hands of politicians and bureaucrats ensures wasted resources, perverse outcomes, and customer dis-satisfaction. Representative politics is not the solution for securing a free state, and the US Constitution recognizes this.