Heartless, Universal Legal Plunder

Originally published August 8, 2010 @ American Thinker
Aaron Gee


If you follow politics, even in a cursory fashion, you couldn’t miss the Democrats and their supporters attempting to paint Republicans as heartless when the renewal of jobless benefits came before the Congress. The weeping and gnashing of teeth on national TV and in print made good political theater, but distorted the true nature of the debate. Neither party opposed benefits, but the Republicans wanted to pay for the extension with unused tarp money. Democrats want the unused tarp money to remain untouched. Instead of national debate on the role of government in supporting out of work citizens we got a sophomoric sob story about the unemployed.


That makes the Democrats move to cut food stamps all the more surprising. According to the Daily Caller

In a matter of hours Thursday, the Senate approved state fiscal aid and child nutrition bills which help pay for themselves by cutting more than $14 billion from food stamps.

If this had been a Republican sponsored bill, CBS, NBC, & ABC would be saying things like “14 Billion dollars taken out of the mouths of children, and the most needy among us”. Since it’s a Democratic sponsored compromise, nary a word.


The latest poll numbers are driving the Democrat’s sudden interest in finding some fiscal responsibility. With an eight point margin favoring the generic Republican, Democrats are willing to wheel and deal if it can make them look less like the big spenders they are. The loosers in this wrangling are federal food stamp recipients, but livestock producers will benefit. Heartless indeed! The current state of the federal spending exemplifies what Frederic Bastiat labeled “Universal legal plunder” in his seminal essay The Law.


Universal legal plunder was defined by Bastiat as “The newly enfranchised majority has decided to formulate law on the same principle of legal plunder that as used by their predecessors..” This is a good description of Congress, with both Democrats and Republicans vying to reward their constituents instead of protecting all of the citizens from an intrusive, plundering, government. In an effort to appease some citizens our political class calculates how much it can take from some to give to others to reward supporters and voting blocks (ie legalized plunder). Politicians think nothing of calling for the legalized robbery of some our citizens to provide for others, all in the name of justice. How is legalized robbery justice?


Where are the citizens and politicians that will stand up and say no to the entrenched bureaucracy and legalized robbery? Today they are TEA party activists. The mainstream media paradigm is easy to understand, the TEA party activist is to be smeared and called heartless or worse. If a Democrat co-opts any of the TEA party’s ideas, expect them to be called “fiscally responsible”. The recent agreed to cuts in food stamps is just another example that paradigm in action.

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