Big Government

Arrogance of the Political Class is Endless

Most 2016 presidential candidates want big government their way.


After the Iowa caucus results, it looks like Hillary Clinton vs. Marco Rubio in November!

They lead the betting at

This scares me. Neither candidate shows any interest in limited government. They scoff at anyone who suggests that their grand schemes do more harm than good. But big government does do more harm than good.

I shouldn't single out Rubio or Clinton, or even Donald Trump. Almost everyone running for office today declares himself a "leader" who "gets things done." There's no modesty, little acknowledgement that so much of what government does is costly attempts to fix problems that government created at home and abroad.

In the book The Fatal Conceit, Frederick Hayek wrote, "The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design."

I wish politicians understood that. Chris Christie clearly doesn't.

He wins my vote for worst presidential candidate this week because of what he's doing to New Jersey's taxpayers in the name of "fixing" Atlantic City.

Six years ago, Christie promised to "reform" and "rebuild" Atlantic City "without government money."

Without government money? Good! It sounds as if the governor respects small government principles and would protect taxpayers.


Christie had a few options. Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold points out that the governor could have done "nothing and let the free market drive out the weaker casinos, hope that the city government and the big casino corporations would innovate their way out of the problem."

That was the small-government option. There would have been upheaval. Some bills wouldn't get paid in full. But heck, Atlantic City "had been rendered fat and inefficient" by casino taxes. It paid "$1 million a year in pensions for long-retired city lifeguards who only ever worked four months a year," wrote Fahrenthold.

Time to cut fat. Instead, Christie partnered with Democrats to embrace a big-government option.

His advisers wanted to take over the entire city. Christie's concession to limited government was that he took over only half—mostly the fun part: all 11 casinos.

Christie put them under the oversight of a state agency. He said those bureaucrats would restore Atlantic City and again vowed, "You have my word that it's going to be done without any government money."

Dream on. The agency used eminent domain to grab properties for development. Bureaucrats spent millions on public art projects, like a statue of a nude woman holding a dead deer. Somehow that didn't inspire tourists to rush to Atlantic City.

The state spent on TV ads and came up with a slogan: "Do AC."

It didn't help. Casinos kept going bankrupt, as did a giant unfinished hotel/casino, the Revel. Christie decided that the state should finish it. He got the legislature to promise $261 million in tax incentives and a $2 million grant. That "no tax money" pledge? Gone. Now taxpayers were "investing."

"We are going to make the type of investment," said Christie, "to make sure that we bring this city to a new renaissance."

The renaissance never came.

The Revel opened, lost money and filed for bankruptcy just one year later. It's now a 47-story hulk with 1,000 empty rooms. Its new owner considered naming it the Tower of Geniuses.

That would be a good name for Obamacare, "temporary" farm subsidies, Alaska's "bridge to nowhere" and lots of other boondoggles designed by politicians.

So is Christie apologetic after spending millions of taxpayer dollars on failure? No, of course not. Recently he was asked whether, in hindsight, he would have done anything differently. "Nothing," Christie replied.

Politicians never apologize. They charge forward. Their solution to failed government investment is more government.

Last week Christie announced that the state would take over all of Atlantic City, claiming, "Greater state involvement makes sense."

He says the new Atlantic City will "be delivered at an affordable cost to the taxpayers."

Sure. And Mexico will pay for a giant wall, stimulus spending will revive the economy and arming Syrian rebels will bring peace.

The arrogance of the political class is endless.

NEXT: Free State Project Participants: It's Time to Move to New Hampshire For Real!

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  1. I think it’s fair to single out republicans. They say “limited government” and “constitutional conservative” but they are neither. Rubio wants to police the world and rescind the First Amendment (e.g. “shut down mosques”). They don’t hold the line on the national debt by limiting spending. It’s the hypocrisy that makes them so nasty. At least the democrats don’t pretend otherwise. In fact I think Obama has protected the Constitution more than Rubio will, assuming Rubio means what he says.

    1. With all due respect, the democrats do pretend. They pretend that they’re only concern is the welfare of workers, blacks, and other minorities, when in fact, their policies actually hurt these folk.

      I get what you’re saying. Republicans deserve extra scrutiny, but the democrats are no better.

      1. I would have to agree when it comes to actually standing for something (and you can disagree with their stand) the Republicans are the ones with solutions….

        The Democrats have created the inequality and racism that they rail against and an centers the all you have to do is look at the states with the most inequality. On Conservative one in the list (it is number one) but LA has no population compared to all the rest of the list (California is number two).

        And the Black Murder rate is happing in Chicago, Flint, Gary and other urban centers around the country.

        Just look at Chicago’s 53 murders for the month of January if you want to see racism in action.

        Murder rates are high even for the Southern cites controlled Democrats who have done nothing to fix the problem… Funny how Black Lives matter is not out protesting these cities….

    2. That’s why the party has been in a state of semi-revolt for a decade. They rarely deliver on the promises they make to their constituents. The Democrats promise more government and always deliver.

  2. “Sure. And Mexico will pay for a giant wall, stimulus spending will revive the economy and arming Syrian rebels will bring peace.”

    One of these things is not like the other.

    John, were you alive and/or conscious in 2008 and, if so, can you prove it?

    1. You’re right. That one is a lot worse.

      1. Wouldn’t building the wall count as stimulus?

        1. Everything is a stimulus. Eating your seed crop. Yum.

          1. Yep. By definition every dollar spent by the government increases GDP. Digging a hole and filling it in is stimulating.

            1. Every dollar the government spends increases GDP by two or three dollars, not one. The magical multiplier effect. Didn’t the Beatles do a song about that? Oh, no. That was the Magical Mystery Tour. My bad.

    2. Nobody tell AmSoc that Obama didn’t take office until 2009. I’m looking forward to hearing more about how the Bush stimulus saved the economy in 2008.

    3. Two of them have been tried and found wanting. The third is stupid, but no more stupid than the other two.

  3. Bureaucrats spent millions on public art projects, like a statue of a nude woman holding a dead deer.

    I’d mount that.

    1. Senate Bill 34 : If you can imagine it, you can get funding to build a sculpture of it.

      Also, does the sculpture include her rifle and the ammo she used? If so, maybe it’s advertising.

  4. “Do AC”? Send us your sex tourists!

  5. Does Chris Christie look like the kind of person that would “cut fat?”

  6. Christie who?

    At the bottom of the heap in Iowa. Going nowhere fast, and we should all be thankful for that.

    1. He’s from Jersey and is a gun grabber. That pretty much gets a no vote from every creature south of Richmond

      1. I would put the gun line north of Richmond. Maybe up to Fredericksburg, perhaps at the Stone Wall.

        1. Don’t forget McLean.

  7. Reason only picks on Republicans!

    Reason is a Democrat shill!

    /John the Butthurt

    1. Clearly we should vote for Republicans. /s

  8. Almost everyone running for office today declares himself a “leader” who “gets things done.”

    To his credit, Ted Cruz’s claim to fame is that he stopped things from getting done. That’s got to be at least a little bit of a mark in his favor.

    1. But he prays Bill, we can’t have that.

      1. We shouldn’t have that.

        Seriously. . . how insane is it to have a guy with one hand on the Big Red Button, and using the other hand to furiously masturbate over wishing for his biblical “End of Days?”

        1. It’s always easy to spot the lifelong atheists. If their delusions about religious people were any crazier, you would assume they were just trolling.

  9. “After the Iowa caucus results, it looks like Hillary Clinton vs. Marco Rubio in November!”

    Holy fuck, I didn’t know Jon Stossel was such an oracle that he knew the race was gonna come down to two candidates based on a third place finish and a coin flip victory in the only vote we have had. You should do TV with that type of foresight.

    1. Its a fair prediction. The media has been raving about Rubio’s “better than expected” third place finish. He has “momentum” now going into New Hampshire. Doesn’t mean he’s gonna win, but the media coverage is on his side and his main competitors for the establishment donors support are Christie, JEB!, and Kasich. At this point I’d bet on Rubio, and I can’t stand the guy.

      Things are a little more certain with Hillary. She’s played down expectations in New Hampshire and no one believes she’s gonna lose South Carolina to Bernie. And Bernie ain’t Barry, he doesn’t have the same appeal among minority voters that Barry had and needs a large enough number of them to win the nomination from Hillary.

    2. This is not Stossel’s prediction, it is the gambling sites. I would put more credence in them than any polling company.

  10. Bureaucrats spent millions on public art projects, like a statue of a nude woman holding a dead deer. Somehow that didn’t inspire tourists to rush to Atlantic City.

    Tourists just can’t appreciate art. The nude woman is symbolic of the New Jersey government, and the dead deer is the bloated carcass of Atlantic City that the government is propping up.

    Although for the symbolism to really work the woman would have to be a huge, 400 pound fat bloated bitch on a hover-round. Think Honey Boo-Boo’s mom only fatter, and with less teeth.

  11. I would say I would like a politician to do something….

    Mostly get the government out of all the stuff that they are in to and do not need to be.

    We borrow money to fund allsorts of things that we should o not be doing in the first place, bike paths, art projects, farm subsidies, and the list goes one for HOURS….

    We will not even go in to the fraud and corruption…

    Free us from these and I will vote for you….

  12. Hey, Stossel – how are you liking that Libertarian Moment?

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