Decision 2012


This country is facing a fundamental choice about its future, which may be made by this year’s elections.


SAFE has taken a stab at expressing what is at stake, presenting our conclusions in three different ways:


     • Take One (choose A or B):  SAFE Agenda vs. Welfare State


     • Take Two (strike a balance): Goldilocks Government)


     • Take Three (first things first): SAFE’s Jobs Manifesto


Do any of the models work for you? Please send comments, pro or con, to Bill Whipple (  And even more important, use the time available to forward the model(s) to your family, friends, and other contacts. (Posted Oct. 15, 2012)




SAFE Agenda

Welfare State

Prosperity (profits, jobs)

Stagnant economy

Essential government services supported

Essential government services crowded out

Limited social outlays (benefits)

Open-ended social outlays (benefits)

Fiscal sustainability

Soaring deficits

Stable prices

Rampant inflation and/or debt repudiation


Political observers are putting lots of time and effort into analyzing the issues at stake in this year’s election, but the fundamental choice is pretty simple.


Model one is the SAFE agenda of smaller, more focused, less costly government – focused on meeting needs that cannot be provided by the private sector, notably the maintenance of social order and security from external threats.  Humanitarian assistance is provided as well, through voluntary assistance and/or government programs at the local or state level.  Local control of the social safety net should help to ensure that support programs do not become institutionalized and spiral out of control.


Model two is a welfare state, in which the federal government promises a cornucopia of benefits to satisfy everyone’s needs.  In theory, this is a systematic and compassionate solution to poverty, illnesses, disability, etc. In practice, the promises will outstrip available resources because people inclined to say “enough” will be outnumbered and outvoted by a growing army of beneficiaries. Based on an essay in “After the Welfare State,” Tom Palmer, Students for Liberty/Atlas Economic Research Foundation, 2012.


Which model would you prefer, and which candidates seem most likely to deliver it?



Goldilocks Government

Just as Goldilocks fell asleep in the third bed she tried, which was “just right,” it’s possible to have too little government, too much government, or about the right amount.  Where do you think the United States stacks up?

One view is that the private sector is the engine of wealth creation, free markets produce the best economic decisions, and bloated government has fostered economic stagnation, soaring welfare costs, cutbacks on essential government services, huge deficits, etc.

 Another view is that government can add value by mandating the “right” decisions about various matters, e.g., healthcare, interest & investment return rates, energy sources, cars, the Internet, light bulbs, & school lunches.  If so, the government may not be big enough.

If you haven’t already done so, SAFE urges you to give some thought to the proper size and role of government (there is lots of information on our website).  This represents the core issue in this year’s elections, and Americans will be living with the outcome for years to come.


MORE JOBS will be available when the federal government changes its behavior.  Without delay, the government must stop piling more and more requirements on business.

To lighten the burden, simplify the tax system and eliminate unnecessary regulations & red tape.  The result will be faster economic growth, MORE JOBS, and more revenue to the federal government without raising taxes.

In addition, significant changes are needed to cut spending, eliminate deficits, and start paying off debt.  That will reduce the present risk of financial disaster and provide fairness to coming generations.

For discussion, see SAFE’s job manifesto, Blog 2012 (10/15/12).