6 August 2004

Craig Cantoni’s regular opponent in point-counterpoint columns for the Arizona Republic is quitting the column. Craig’s last faceoff with him ran on August 4th.

John is the winner
By Craig J. Cantoni

As my worthy opponent leaves the space next door, I want to wish John well in his new assignment of public school principal. I also want to concede that he and his fellow liberals have won the political debate in America.

Congratulations, John.

Much of the world has come to understand that central control and collectivism hurts people, especially the poor. Yet the United States continues on a path of centralization and collectivism, thanks to liberals like John and their big-government allies in the Republican Party.

Take ”transfer payments,” which is a euphemism for ”theft.”

In 1900, almost all government expenditures were for the common good—for government services like national defense that benefit all citizens. Back then, transfer payments, which benefit some citizens at the expense of others, were only two percent of government spending. Today, they are over 40 percent and growing.

In 1900, total government expenditures were 8.2 percent of Gross Domestic Product. Today, they are about four times higher. A century ago, 60 percent of government spending was at the local and state levels. Now, federal spending is twice as much as local and state spending combined, costing each household a whopping $23,000 per year.

In 1914, the year after the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment, the income tax per capita was $69 in today’s dollars, versus $2,500 today. Less than one percent of the population had to file a tax return in 1914, versus 45 percent today. There were 4,000 IRS employees and four pages of IRS forms in 1914, versus 100,000 employees and over 4,000 pages today.

Politicians bray about the small percentage of jobs outsourced to other countries but are silent about the millions of jobs ”outsourced” to the government. There are now almost twice as many wealth-consuming public-sector employees as wealth-producing manufacturing employees.

Health care is increasingly unaffordable, due to the government destroying a consumer market in health care 60 years ago. Now, economic illiterates want to make health care ”free” and thus more expensive.

As a result of our spending binge, the U.S. is a debtor nation, capital is fleeing to other countries, and we are sticking future generations with a $40 trillion entitlement bill.

Big-government Republicans and liberals like John have won, but the nation has lost. At the risk of sounding like a sore loser, I take back my congratulations.

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Mr. Cantoni is an author, public speaker and consultant. He can be reached at

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