Monday, June 30, 2014

Fear of an Overly Powerful Government—As American as Apple Pie

Advocates for limited government are accused of wanting no government. It’s a straw man argument that in essence says we must keep every little piece of government or nothing at all. Limited government advocates do not want to eliminate all government, they only want to return government to its rightful place.

The Founders didn’t fear powerful government because they hated government; they feared powerful governments because they threaten liberty. This has been true throughout history. The more power government wields, the more it dictates the daily activities of its citizens. Big government doesn’t sometimes oppress. Sooner or later, big government always oppresses.

Today, many people believe the government should take care of them. The government should right every wrong and insure a fair distribution of necessities. The sad truth is that making sure everyone has shelter, food, health care, training or education, protection against disability or unemployment, and a risk-free retirement is expensive. Government services in excess of national income can work for a long time—decades even. Basically, it’s a sly way of buying votes with the next generation’s money. Unfortunately, it can’t last. Once the interest on the borrowed money starts claiming a big piece of the current budget, the responsibly can no longer be foisted onto the next generation, and the fiscal charade begins to crumble.