23 million Americans have no job. 46 million are living on food stamps. Our national debt is obscene. The U.S. government has lost its triple-A credit rating… and we are approaching a “fiscal cliff” in which hundreds of billions of dollars in spending cuts will strike another blow to our wounded economy.
America is getting older and is entering a state of decline. Political analysts see the nation bifurcating along “makers” and “takers” lines and like it or not, every man, woman, and child in the country is represented by an interest group. And the proliferation of interest groups eventually spells doom for the societies they inhabit.
What is an “interest group”? James Madison, said it best with his definition of “faction” in Federalist 10, as comprising “a number of citizens, whether amounting to a minority or majority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community” .
First, America’s mammoth federal government constitutes an interest group itself, which means it does all the things other public and private groups do to protect itself. Second, about half of the population receives some form of aid from the federal government, according to the Heritage Foundation’s 2012 Index of Dependence on Government, and these recipients constitute perhaps the most behemoth group of them all. Third, close to one-half of the entire population does not pay federal-income taxes, a figure that climbed from 12 percent in 1969 to 34.1 percent at the beginning of the Bush administration to its current figure as President Obama starts his second term.
To recap, special interest groups within a society have little or no incentive to make any significant sacrifices in the interest of the society in which they exist. There is no constraint on the social cost such an organization will find it expedient to impose on the society in the course of obtaining a larger share of the social output for itself. This means nothing less than it says: a group will kill its host before relinquishing even a modicum of benefits for itself.
Hostess Brands, Inc., forced by a Bakers Union strike to shut down all operations and sell all company assets puting 18,500 out of work, is an excellent example. “Unfortunately, the company’s operating and financial problems were so severe that it required steep concessions from a variety of stakeholders but not all stakeholders were willing to be constructive,” said Ken Hall, the Teamsters’ Secretary-Treasurer. So much for our naïve notions about how interest groups proclaim to represent some greater good.
Taken from many sources and I apologize for lack of attribution.