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Feb 23 2010

In Search of Self-Governance


Dick Morris, former consultant to President Bill Clinton, reviews In Search of Self-Governance by Scott Rasmussen.

With his up-to-the-second published polls, Scott Rasmussen has revolutionized the way politics is practiced in America. Now, in his new book, In Search of Self-Governance, he bids us all remember that the real political debate is not left vs. right, but rather between being governed by a bureaucracy and self-governance.

He begins his short, easily readable book by debunking the myth that big business wants a free market without government regulation. Instead, he points out, they want to use government intervention – through regulations and the tax code – to assure their continued bigness and dominance. When Philip Morris — or Altria in its new incarnation, supported FDA regulation of tobacco in order to guarantee its current market domination, we all saw an illustration of how right Rasmussen is.

But the new dimension of Scott’s book is that he discusses how thoroughly Americans do, in fact, govern themselves. Faced with the possible collapse of the Social Security system under the weight of retiring baby boomers, they plan to fund their own retirements. Facing technological changes and global competition, they go back to school and upgrade their skills. They do not see the public sector as the place to get relief. They prefer to work it out on their own.

Rasmussen’s treatise raises the question of whether self-reliance is indeed universal. Are we not becoming more like an Eastern European country where those who are employed by the private sector vote for free markets while a coalition of the unemployed, the retired, students, and government workers sustain liberals in power? Are we not divided increasingly along the fault lines of tax-payers vs. tax-eaters?

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