By Dr. Christopher Peters
I recently reviewed a May report from state Auditor David Vaudt titled “Budgeting — Iowa’s Future” (http://
What I found most troubling is that, while Iowa’s population has remained essentially unchanged for the past 30 years, the state’s general fund budget has increased nearly 130 percent! This is in inflation-adjusted dollars; in non-adjusted dollars, the increase was 270 percent.
My question: With a stable population base, does there exist any reasonable argument for this growth?
When one looks at the partisan history of the Governor’s Office in Iowa, Republicans were in charge of the administration for 19 of those 30 years, while Democrats have been in charge the last 11 years. During the same time period, the Iowa General Assembly was similarly of mixed influence. Democrats held a majority in both houses for seven of those sessions, Republicans held a majority in both houses for five and there was a stalemate in three sessions.
The conclusion I draw: Despite a stable population, state government has grown tremendously over the past 30 years, regardless of which of the two major political parties were in charge. The data at the federal level is quite similar, and I suspect the same is true in most of our 50 states.
It is time to expose the falsity of the claim that there are substantial differences between most Republicans and Democrats. Both have interest groups and constituencies to which they are beholden, and in order to maintain or acquire their elected positions, they must cater to those interests. They seem to be able to do so only by offering something, which means something they acquire from working Iowans in the form of taxation. In doing so, they necessarily increase the size and scope of government and the burden on taxpayers.
If you wish to see a smaller, less intrusive and less wasteful government, and a decreased tax burden, consider voting for neither major party.
We need to return this country and state to founding principles of government: protect the fundamental rights of citizens and little else. This is all we really need to build a just and equitable society, as we can manage most of the rest.
I urge all Iowans to learn the positions of the candidates, and vote for those who value personal liberty and economic freedom, regardless of party allegiance.
I recommend Libertarian or Independent candidates but would welcome a vote for any truly liberty-minded Republican or Democrat, as well.Christopher Peters, an Iowa City doctor, is a Libertarian candidate for state Senate in District 15.