Saturday, August 11, 2018

Big Government's Failure To Address Our Woes

Big Government Does Not Always Work Better!
The failure of big government to address the problems and woes of our society has left many of us puzzled as to how we should proceed. The large number of government programs that have failed to carry out their duties and the dim view many Americans have towards Washington may be starting to take its toll on those who think big government is the answer. The Democratic Party has long been thought of as the party of "big government"  filled with believers that government can solve and is the answer to curing many of our woes. Sadly, cost and reality are quickly beginning to show the flaws in this theory, government is far better at providing access of citizens and good at passing popular laws, but the private sector tends to be more efficient and better at controlling costs.

Big government is not just an American problem and tends to be even worse in countries established long ago. It seems corruption and government both tend to grow in unison over time. The way in which an increasingly better-educated world population faces and deals with growing governments will determine the future of the Planet Earth. The saying "be careful what you wish for" may again be proven true as those wanting more government intervention experience the limits of government and bureaucracy while burdened by the true financial cost it imposes. We must remember that government is often not constrained by the power of the purse to strive for efficiency, where a business fails when it does not meet its goals of providing a good service or product at a reasonable cost government muddles on.

Over the last two centuries the United States government has been steadily moving away from Adam Smith’s idea of limited government and towards the view of Abraham Lincoln that the purpose of government should be to do for the people, whatever they needed done, but could not do for themselves or could not do as well for themselves as individuals.  At a time when the Country was young and adding state after state one might make the case that larger Government was appropriate.  As more and more citizens earned the right to vote and become better educated, they have been encouraged to look at the government, as their government. This has greatly changed the viewpoint of the functions of government and has resulted in large increases in governments activities.  The role of the government in America has changed at all levels.

The Trend From 20% To 35% Is Clear And Continues
Sadly the open-ended theme of larger Government is generally a mechanism to in some way transfer wealth. Mandates often unfunded are fostered upon business organizations and private citizens. It is the nature of bureaucracy to expand.  A new proactive movement of “cuteness” cloaked in a veil of flexibility and diversity allows politicians and bureaucrats use terms like "Private Public Partnership" and "quasi-government entities" has masked just how deep its roots have grown. Both of these allow a pathway for politicians to tinker without the personal financial risk that a businessman must take. The problem is that those within government love being creative especially when they do so on our dime. The use of sun-set legislation is underused and the bar set too low when it comes to extending and renewing government bodies. We tend to forget that the best time to kill a monster is while its small.

Shifting demographics are quickly weakening the Republican Party, if they do not adopt a more populist message and a big tent policy soon they will continue to lose power. This could have a very negative impact on America going forward. The polarization we see today may be mild compared to what we see in ten years if a large segment of the population feels its voice is unheard. If the checks and balances in our system fail anger will grow as more Americans begin to feel even more left out in the cold. Ironically the best friend of the Republican party has become big government and the Democratic party that has been eager to promote it as a cure to our woes. It must be pointed out that the cost of this experiment has soared over the years and created a national debt that threatens the economic health of future generations.

Governments must be of the people, for the people and honor laws that are rational and fair. The reality of ever-larger government has manifest itself in more scandals as departments overreach their missions. This can be seen in the military, the IRS, NSA and in our government's failure to accomplish tasks such as putting together a working and functioning Healthcare web site. With freedom comes responsibility, people must control their own governments. Once established and settled it is often difficult to change the way a nation chooses its leaders. This is true in America where our election system strongly discourages a third party and even out of date safeguards such as an illogical and out of date electoral college heavily influences our Presidential elections. This means small passionate groups of people can often skew results as their voices become amplified at the same time the value of other voters is diminished.

A government may be chosen by a variety of methods. A one vote one person system does not differentiate between the social or economic status of the voter, and while on the surface this would appear fair it could be argued that it is flawed. Today in a society geared to pander to political correctness the idea of questioning a person's competence to vote would draw massive outrage and give rise to protest. Another factor is the role of money in politics and how it, and lobbyist can corrupt the system by buying influence and favors. In many ways like in a pot of stew, these ingredients are thrown into the mix and allowed to simmer and commingle till a result is had.

As for the idea of reforming or improving our election system, that is very unlikely to happen as neither party wants to introduce a change that might benefit the other. The entrenched interest of the elites within the system block change. Having conceded hope, as I look around the world I like the idea of runoff elections where voters are allowed to choose their "two" favorite candidates. This lessens the chance of getting stuck with someone unpopular because a third party spoiler has skewed results. I like the politically "toxic idea" of limiting and qualifying voters, removing the "stupid" or allowing voters with more skin in the game such as landowners, the employed, or those who pay taxes to have more voice. To bring positive change it would be geared to the giving the middle-class an overwhelming voice rather than the wealthy or elite. I understand this flies in the face of current values in that doing something to earn the right to vote or prove you have a vested interest in society other than "just being here" is completely foreign to America.

Add to my wish list of "crazy" ideas the following. Eliminate the dreadful electoral college and the distortion it causes, it is mind-boggling as to how much this has skewed the political landscape. Next, I would like to see cut in half the number of members in both the House and Senate while at the same time placing term limits upon them. Limit all laws to under five pages even if this makes them less comprehensive, when laws become overly complicated they become impossible to follow. Last but not least, move toward more national referendums and votes, if American Idol can do it, so can we. In the future elections should also be held this way as long as proper verification can be confirmed.

Polls show that a majority of Americans feel we are moving in the wrong direction. At the same time, this does not indicate exactly what they think is the proper direction. It often takes courage to make the difficult and unpopular political and economic decisions that will cause pain but benefit society in the long run. A political system that encourages sidestepping these issues to pander to the masses in exchange for remaining in power pays a tremendous price that can stay hidden for only so long. This is a trap America has slipped into, getting out of this will prove quite difficult. I seriously question whether we have the fortitude to take the necessary steps required.

 Footnote; This post dovetails with many of my writings. Some of my solutions may come across as provocative but are food for thought. For more on governments role in our lives, I might suggest reading the article below. Other related articles may be found in my blog archive, thanks for reading.

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