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Big Government: the Cause of Bosnia & Herzegovina's Misery

A wise man once defined “insanity” as doing same thing over and over again and expecting different results. From election to election we the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina keep electing the same parties and the same corrupt politicians into office and hope that perhaps this time things will be different, now that's a good example of “insanity.”

The truth is that for many generations we have been indoctrinated with socialist ideas and are therefore naturally inclined on seeing government as the answer to all our problems. Whenever a new problem arises we expect our government to solve it. Politicians all too-willingly jump at the opportunity to grant themselves even more power in order to take care of us. Their intent on helping the people is almost always genuine and well intended. However, the problem is that we all tend to judge government actions by their intent rather than by their outcomes.

The politicians' promise of free stuff is irresistible, yet we all know that nothing is ever free and that there is no Santa Claus. Government doesn't create wealth, it only spends it. All the country's wealth is created by the hard working people. So in order to fulfill their promises, politicians must act like Robyn Hoods and use authority and force of government to take away from those who have and give to the have-nots.

Oh, and Robyn Hood is so busy taking care of the poor that he has no time left for growing his own food. So he not only redistributes wealth but also feeds himself in the process of doing his seemingly noble work. The bigger and fatter the government is, the more of taxpayers' money it consumes in order to operate.

Then there is the undeniable issue of monopoly. When government provides services, it uses its power to keep competition from entering the market. With no competitors and free market forces to worry about, government is free to provide whatever quantity and whatever quality services it feels like. It forces all its working citizens to pay for government monopolies, regardless of whether they need it and use it or not. When the people demand better services, it responds by pouring in more money.

Not to mention the fact that government doesn't care about spending taxpayer's money efficiently. Why should it? It never earned it in the first place. As Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman famously points out: "nobody spends someone else's money as carefully and efficiently as they spend their own."

With such big and wasteful government, taxing people to the maximum, promising and giving so many free handouts to the unfortunate and lazy have-nots, the burden on the already overtaxed productive end of society is enormous. In a country such as ours, with big government and welfare state, our hard working people lose incentive to work and instead gain incentive for laziness and standing in line for government handouts. All of a sudden those who produce are less and less, and hungry mouths to feed are more and more. Why work when government will take care of us anyway? Equality at the finish line, social justice at its finest! We continue to practice the good old Communist doctrine of Karl Marx: "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need."

Over twenty years since the fall of Soviet Union, and over a decade of democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, we have managed to remain socialist as ever. This continued reliance on socialism and big government continues to deliver the same recognizable results it produced during the times of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Here are examples of some of the more important government run services and their all too-familiar outcomes:

Economy management and jobs creation: We somehow still rely on government to manage our economy despite the appaling results year after year. We expect government to create jobs even though the unemployment in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been about 40% for the past decade. So the obvious question which arises is: should we still rely on government to manage our economy and create jobs? Why pay big fat salaries to government officials when they are obviously incapable of doing things they shouldn’t be doing in the first place?

Education: With exception of few private schools, government-imposed socialized education is a monopoly which provides virtually all education in our country. Being free from competition, government delivers a poor educational service to its constituents. Public school teachers form powerful teacher's unions, using political power to influence public school funding and resist competition by private schools. Bad schools continue to operate and bad teachers continue to teach. Public schools are responsible only to the government and not to the parents of students. Government mandates schools to teach according to national plan and program, reducing diversity and teachers' motivation and teaching performance. Educational policy of one system fits all ensures that all schools provide same quality education across the board, leaving parents with no real choice of schools. Should we continue letting our government squander our money by providing poor education and leaving us no choice as to how and where we educate our children?

Healthcare: Government holds monopoly in healthcare as well. Lack of market forces allows government to slack in providing healthcare services. Healthcare is underfunded and healthcare workers are often on strike, refusing to accept and treat patients. Should we continue to rely on socialized medicine?

Retirement: Government has the absolute power over our retirement funds, arbitrarily imposing tax rate and the amount retirees receive. Average retiree receives a pension that is just enough to prevent starvation and pay monthly bills, barely keeping him just above the poverty line. Yet the average retired government official receives 8 – 10 times that amount. Is it time to privatize government controlled social security and let people take control of their own retirement?

Other social problems: High degree of nationalism and division amongst ethnic groups results in power struggle and disrespect for minorities. Our government (read: the political parties in power) exacerbates these problems by exercising favoritism towards majority ethnic groups both nationally and in their respective districts. Is it time to stop thinking of people as belonging to certain groups and start treating them as individuals? Is it time to stop protecting minorities and start protecting all individuals instead?

So the solution to the above and many other Bosnia and Herzegovina's problems is for people to stop relying on government to do things for them. In a socialist country such as ours where socialist and nationalist socialist parties are both in power and in opposition, this kind of idea is not only revolutionary but it is the one that never even crosses politician’s mind. All politicians love to exercise and gain more power, not relinquish it. This is exactly why the insanity is bound to continue and why things will remain the same.

From all of the above it becomes obvious that new ideas, new leadership, and new energy is needed to steer the country away from insanity. By educating people of Bosnia and Herzegovina about liberty and small government, we can change their perceptions about government, put an end to apathy, restore belief in freedom and personal responsibility, end all nationalism, create opportunities for all individuals to improve their own lives and create prosperous future for themselves and future generations.

Language/Vaš Jezik

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