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2/7/2009
SMALL GOVERNMENT, BIG GOVERNMENT, OR CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT?

What conservatives have yet to do is confront the large but inescapable truth that movement conservatism is exhausted and quite possibly dead. And yet they should, because the death of movement politics can only be a boon to the right, since it has been clear for some time the movement is profoundly and defiantly un-conservative–in its ideas, arguments, strategies, and above all its vision.
(Stan Tanenhaus writing in The New Republic)

Second in a series. Part I is here.

Can you define “big government?” How about “small government?” And by “define” I don’t mean listing federal departments you wish to deep six. Nor do I mean coming up with a budget number for the feds that we can get our minds around.

I am talking about defining the relationship between a citizen and the federal government in a republic living now, in the 21st century, in an industrialized society of 300 million people and how those incontrovertible facts reflect on the basic principles of conservatism.

This should be easy for us conservatives, right? We’ve been pounding on the theme of reducing the size of government for 50 years or more so one would think we have a good idea what we’re talking about when we demand the government be “small.”

In fact, outside of railing against a lot of things the feds spend money on, most conservatives don’t have a clue what they mean when they demand the government shrink in size. In my debates with my good friend Ed Morrissey, it usually comes down to a question of federalism and how the feds have appropriated duties and responsibilities that the states would be better off handling. In other words, we should grow the size of state government rather than the national government. (Ed does not make that arguement specifically but it is a logical extension of his contention regarding federalism.). Ed is a believer - as are most conservatives - that the closer to home government decisions are made, the more control the individual citizen has over those decisions.

In the abstract, I find nothing wrong with this thinking. The nearly forgotten 9th and 10th Amendments to the Constitution make very plain that this was, in fact, the Founders intent; all powers not enumerated in the Constitution were reserved to the people and “the several states.”

Over the last century, the Supreme Court has changed all of that by vastly - incredibly in some cases -expanding the “enumerated powers” found in the Constitution. Hence, the very idea of federalism has been subsumed in order to find justification for federal regulation of business, social engineering such as school desegregation, and privacy rights such as those used to justify legalizing abortion among others. In truth, the federal government has not grown at the expense of state power but has grown because it became possible for it to become larger. Being something akin to a force of nature, the federal government expands simply because it is allowed to. Legally, politically, even culturally, there has developed a consensus that the national government should be as big as it needs to be in order to provide the services that Congress can dream up or the people demand.

Must that be the case? Can we simply do without a lot of services the federal government provides? Or can we slough off responsibility for the perfomance of those services to the states?

The latter is tempting, isn’t it? But in practice, would we want 50 different health insurance plans, 50 different water quality standards, or air pollution rules? How about some states banning consumer products for being unsafe while others allowed the same ones to be sold within their borders?

It would be the Articles of Confederation on steroids, a nightmare of confusion and dangerous to our health to boot. It would adversely affect commerce as well as making state governments more powerful. Being ruled by one tyrant a thousand miles from home is not better than being ruled by a thousand tyrants one mile from home. Power weilded by the state would still limit choices for those of us who value independence and freedom over dependency.

As much as conservatives clamor for shrinking the size of government drastically, it is simply not going to happen. No embracing of federalism or eliminating departments like education and energy, or convening another Grace Commission , or even electing a conservative majority will result in a return to a pre-Great Society nation.

Does this mean conservatives should all become liberals and embrace the welfare state, excesses and all?

Tanenhaus:

Buckley had begun to give serious thought to Chambers’s equation: “how much to give in order not to give up the basic principles.” The reason was a rapid sequence of election campaigns–Goldwater’s for president in 1964, Buckley’s own for mayor of New York City in 1965, and Reagan’s election as governor of California in 1966. Each episode had reinforced a political home truth: The right had a chance of prevailing, but only if it attracted the broad base of voters who were non-ideological and, in some cases, not even attached to either major party. To attract these voters in the middle, the GOP had to acknowledge that most were as dependent on big government as Chambers’s Maryland neighbors had been. What was more, amid the upheavals of the ’60s citizens wanted government–specifically the federal government–to exert the authority Burke and Disraeli had claimed for it. It made no sense for conservatives to attack “statism” when it was institutions of “the State” that formed the bedrock of civil society. In 1967, when Reagan, soon after his election, was being accused of having sold out his anti-government principles–not least because he had submitted the highest budget in state history–Buckley wondered what exactly critics expected Reagan to do, “padlock the state treasury and give speeches on the Liberty amendment?”

In essence, Reagan did not govern in California and Washington as an ideological conservative. Reagan governed as conservatively as he could, as reality dictated. He recognized the world he lived in and governed accordingly. It angered some of the idealogues back in the day that Reagan compromised with the Democrats on most major issues. But Reagan’s pragmatism was born out of a belief that “half a loaf is better than none” and that the nation’s business was more important than ideological spats with the Democrats. He rarely compromised his principles but even there he was flexible enough to put the business of the country first.

Did these compromises make Reagan any less of a conservative? In fact, Reagan accomplished much for conservatism. He almost single handedly altered the debate in this country over social spending where taxpayers were allowed to ask whether one program was really necessary or whether another should get such a huge increase. The very conservative principle of prudence was introduced into the debate over spending for social programs -a unique and important achievement that is with us to this day.

Reagan governed as conservatively as the times allowed. The question that has been haunting me these last few years is how can an ideology that pushes the notion of “smaller government” and a repeal of the underpinnings of the welfare state actually succeed in those efforts, much less get elected? How can conservative ideology possibly be relevant when it refuses to acknowledge the reality of the times in which we live and set impossible goals like shrinking the size of a government from which the overwhelming majority of Americans demand services that conservatives would like to eliminate?

This is not the way back to majority status but rather a death sentence. It is my belief, that notions of government, big and small, are irrelvant to the question of conservative government. That is to ask, can conservatives govern conservatively within the parameters set by the real world problems associated with the welfare state? Can taxes and spending be cut, entitlements reformed, social security and medicare saved, business be watched while allowing them the freedom to thrive, and still look to the basic needs of the poor and the middle class while balancing the budget and providing for the national defense?

I believe it can be done although not to the extent that most movement conservatives would demand. But it doesn’t matter because until we can embrace the idea that we will never roll back the welfare state to pre-Great Society levels, never repeal the New Deal, never undo the progress that has been made in softening the rough edges of American society, we will continue to be a small, embittered minority, out of power and out of luck.

The way back is going to require a painful admission that we’ve been living in a dream world when it comes to believing that “small government” or dramatically reducing its scope was possible in a nation of this size, containing so many people with so many interests and needs. Rather, we should be looking for ways to apply conservative principles to the real world governance of such a hugely rich and diverse country. Not “big government,” not “small government,” but a solid and rational conservative government that would reflect - as much as possible - the notion that the government that governs least governs best and that wherever possible, the independence and freedom of the citizen should be respected and fostered. This is what separates us from liberals and I believe it the key to a conservative revival.

How that translates into reality, I have no idea. I have no road map or list of instructions I can give. But I agree with Burke who wrote “We must all obey the great law of change. It is the most powerful law of nature, and the means perhaps of its conservation.”

Tomorrow: conclusion

By: Rick Moran at 3:04 pm
19 Responses to “SMALL GOVERNMENT, BIG GOVERNMENT, OR CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT?”
  1. 1
    gregdn Said:
    4:09 pm 

    Great article, in which you ask the right question: can Conservatives get elected by promising to shrink governement.
    I’d like to see Conservatives focus not on shrinking the government so much as making it more efficient. This can be done by asking which of the 3 levels handles the particular problem best.
    Pollution is a good example. Bad air and water doesn’t respect local or state boundaries so I would argue that Federal agencies would best handle the job. This would allow us to eliminate state and local pollution agencies and regulations that sometimes duplicate or overlap Federal regulations. The savings to state & local governments would be tremendous.
    Education, on the other hand is a job that is best handled by state or local agencies. Conservatives could fight to eliminate the Federal role in education (maybe in return for shoring up financing for local schools).
    There are many more opportunities in our society to reduce government at all three levels without compromising services that we all have come to expect.
    Pushing an agenda like this would also stop Conservatism from being seen as an ‘anti’ movement.

  2. 2
    bsjones Said:
    4:39 pm 

    I’m in the process of changing my beliefs.
    O.K., Here goes…

    If the government that governs least governs best, then the government that doesn’t govern at all should be Utopia. ‘Drown government in a bathtub’. Abolish Energy. Or Education. E.P.A. and Interior have got to go. Right? Abolishing government means more personal freedom. It is simple. It makes sense.

    A liberal I was arguing with once said, “Government and Taxes ARE civilization!! Look at places without much of either: Afghanistan, Iraq, and blah, blah,blah…”

    He then reminded me of the Monty Python bit, ‘What have the Romans ever done for us? They are bleeding us dry.’
    “oh yeah…, besides the aqueduct, the sanitation, the public baths, the education, the roads, the public order, the medicine… What have they done?”

    It’s still funny!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSELOCMmw4A

    Anyway, at the time I wasn’t buying it because government is bad. Reducing government is good. Get government off my back!!! Taxes are bad. I know how to spend my money better than Bill Clinton. If I want an aqueduct, I’ll build it myself!!

    Well, I am on the road to Damascus. I can now see.

    The question isn’t government versus no government. (that is ideology.)

    The question is government for what.
    Do we want regulated capital markets?
    Do we want regulated banks?
    Do we want public education?
    etc…

    If so, we must fight for effective and efficient regulations and use of resources by the government, not the elimination of it.

  3. 3
    grognard Said:
    4:59 pm 

    Article number one expressed well my frustration with Conservatism, I got a whole lot of complaints about Liberals but when it came down to nut and bolts about how to get ”smaller government”nothing but just some nebulous goal and few details. I am glad to see some movement is being made in that direction, but the Limbaughs are still around to hijack the movement and continue the money making liberal bashing cult.

    Liberals and Conservatives approach each other and politics in the same way; my side is righteous and right and your side is the spawn of a sewage treatment plant. In fact the real argument is over personal preference on what government should and should not do. Reality is that neither side is right or wrong, the real problem is that we are trying to make a one size fits all government that ultimately will please none. The best book on government I ever read, and one I wish was mandatory reading for anyone that talks about politics, is Anarchy State and Utopia by Robert Nozick. He explains that the best government would be one where like minded people in their own communities would begin on the same what-government-should-do page and go from there. People that want, and are willing to pay for, a nanny state would have exactly what they want. Libertarians could walk down the street smoking pot in their community and Social conservatives could ban evolution in their schools. Of course there are adverse consequences for certain beliefs, but those consequences are something each community would have to deal with and not affect anyone else. If you read Nozick you can see that there should be a way to create a government that gives Liberals and Conservatives everything they want, with the added benefit that there would be nobody from the other side to deal with.

  4. 4
    Nagarajan Sivakumar Said:
    6:00 pm 

    . This is what separates us from liberals and I believe it the key to a conservative revival.

    Rick, thanks for doing this exercise. I guess some one needed to do it.

    As a non-citizen who is of a conservative persuasion, (I am on the evil and devious H1-B visa), I have been following American politics for the last 5 years (it began with the 2004 Democratic primaries). I started out left of center but over the last 3 years have become resolutely conservative. Some people take a life time to make this transition, but thankfully i did it before my 31st birthday.

    My conversion to conservatism was borne out of my personal experience -things that happened to me, people whom I observed and learnt from, following political events at home and in the US etc. I have also tried to read as much American history as i possibly can. It has easily been one of the most interesting experiences that i have had in my life.

    From my personal perspective, conservatism is meant to be anti-populist and sometimes steadfastly so. The philosophy itself seems to be a counter-weight to the populist impulses of society.i.e. even though it is a well thought out philosophy, for the most part it has stood in opposition to the events in society ( or as WFB would put it “athwart history”)

    So,it is at best an alternate political view - fewer people seem to ask the question ” Why is there too much Government interference in life ?”.

    Today, I can easily find more people who start off by saying “Why SHOULDNT be there a stronger Government?” And here in lies the tragedy.

    The American experiment in self government which rose against tyranny and tried to do everything possible in its Constitution to limit the power of a strong central Government has come full circle. Your Government has become what it always avoided to be - an all powerful one.

    Of course, this has’nt happened overnight - it has taken the better part of the last 125 years to come to this point. But you have reached a destination from which you simply are’nt going back.

    From Cafe Hayek, here is a gem of a statistic - About 37% of total income tax revenue for the IRS in 2004 came from the top 1% of earners.

    http://www.cafehayek.com/hayek/2007/03/who_shoulders_t.html

    In short, the money for all kinds of Government services which people expect (as you point out), does not come from them for the most part.The tax burden is disproptionately shouldered by the wealthy. No matter how much you demagogue the “rich people”, if not for them this country would simply collapse.

    Now why wouldnt a sane and a rational person not want things that would personally cost them little to almost free ?

    But even more importantly most people here ARE NOT AWARE of how big and expansive their Federal Government is. Very few people would be able to tell you how many Departments are there, what they are for, what their individual budgets are etc.

    In my view, there are two reasons for this.

    a. They dont care. And they dont care because most of them are paying little to nothing for the functioning of these bureaucracies.

    Even if they do care, they soon get lost in the soup alphabet of agencies that they throw up their hands in despair.

    b.Most people believe that Governments are not only meant to be for the “common good” but THEY ARE inherently good to fulfill their needs - in contrast, people have more negative opinions of what a business can do.It has become very difficult to discuss this issue without people resorting to flat out demagoguery.

    From my vantage point,you are headed as a nation to where Europe already is - a fully fledged welfare state and darned proud of being one.

    If I seem to sound like some one who wants to rubbish any talk of a conservative revival, then you clearly understand me :-)

    “Not “big government,” not “small government,” but a solid and rational conservative government that would reflect – as much as possible – the notion that the government that governs least governs best and that wherever possible, the independence and freedom of the citizen should be respected and fostered

    Rick, that would be the utopian dream. You almost sound like Obama who in his inaugural speech said that the size of governments does not matter any more - of course, they are NEVER going to contract - so that means, it doesnt matter how big it is !

    A “big” government can never “govern the least”. It is meant to be big so that it can “govern” more. I know that conservatives can be such hard-assed purists on this point, but if you give this up,you are going down the slippery slope. Well, i think we have already travelled down that path, have’nt we ?

    A majority of the people in this country HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO PROBLEM with the Government being involved in their retirement plans (Social Security), their health care plans when they get old (Medicare).

    No wonder you are facing a 53 Trillion dollar deficit - and just about no conservative politician has the guts to level with people on this issue. (Bush cared more deeply about Iraq than social security reform). Only a conservative/libertarian pol can do this. Liberal politicians believe that Social Security is FDR’s promise the eternal generations of Americans that can never be broken, no matter what the cost - of course it also helps every four years when it can be used to demagogue the Republicans/ heartless monster conservatives.

    Another trillion dollars of money from thin air is going to be spent by the Government from the coming week. That should stimulate your economy, shouldnt it ?

    Conservative revival is going to happen only people seriously start to think what their relationship with the Government should be - or what their founding fathers wanted it to be. How much Government does an individual need ? How much Government does a society want before it can stop calling itself “free”.?

    also it would help if the American people lost their naivete’ on how bureaucrats in Government are tirelessly working for the common man’s welfare.

    May be you need another Boston tea party like tax revolt - an Atlas Shrugged like moment when the most productive members of American civil society throw up their hands and say ” Its all yours now.”

    I dont see that happening. May be some time in the near future, Americans will learn why exactly their founding fathers experiment in self government is a timeless concept - the hard way.

    If people are so angry at Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, what happens when they realize that Social Security and Medicare are the biggest Ponzi schemes bar none?

    If people were so angry that the Government was spending 10 billion dollars of money it didnt have every month on that worthless war called Iraq,
    how angry are they going to be when millions of retirees on Social Security are going to be faced with cuts in Social security benefits - even though they loyally paid into this system with EVERY DAMNED PAYCHECK ? ( this does not apply to Geithner ofcourse)

    Sometimes you need to burn your finger before you learn not to play with fire.

  5. 5
    funny man Said:
    7:40 pm 

    Part of the conservative movement is quite idealistic and can be libertarian e.g. the belief that many things can best be dealt locally ergo the federal government stay out. While I believe there is some truth to it, the smaller you are as a unit the more vulnerable you are. For example, let’s assume you are the only game in town, the only mining company in East Tennessee. Wouldn’t you be able to get away with (environmental) murder because people would be scared to loose there jobs. Here government should give protection through federal laws.
    Another example: I know a lot of you think the EU is just a useless bloated bureaucracy. However, a lot of Europeans also know that size does matter especially when dealing with trade conflicts with bigger entities such as the US or China.
    So while I agree on many initiatives to reduce ‘bloated’ government, I’m against the notion that ‘government’ by itself is bad. They are still our elected representatives.

  6. 6
    OWASM Said:
    8:23 pm 

    Looks like you have turned into a Frumian “conservative”. It comes from excessive navel-gazing and agrophobia. Small government vs. Big government can be defined. Just throwing up your hands doesn’t make it not so. As you said in your article, you don’t start out with defining government’s size… what you do is start out by defining what basic rights and non-intrusions citizens deserve. You also have to define limits to political correctness, because that our current state of political correctness has severely affected the collective polity’s perception of human rights. We need to re-install the old adage of ’sticks and stones will break my bones and names will never hurt me’ in defining our basic interactions. Too much concern about others has lead to a significant curtailment of our rights. It looks like you are a victim of the Left’s Chinese water torture method of softening up conservative minds.

  7. 7
    funny man Said:
    10:42 pm 

    How about a libertarian/paleocon/new left movement with Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, Eugene McCarthy. Well sort of, you know what I mean.

  8. 8
    Foobarista Said:
    4:16 am 

    For me, a few things:

    1. I wish government wasn’t run by bureaucrats. My biggest beef with government is its organization is basically late 19th century “Big Management” with deep hierarchies, lifer employees, and permanent departments. Unlike everything else in our world, these entities aren’t punished for failure, and often are “rewarded” for it with budget increases.

    2. Our government has grown to the point where it is increasingly undemocratic simply because much of it is too “far away” in terms of organizational distance from Congress and the people it’s supposed to serve. Federalism may help, but many functions aren’t geographic anymore and we’d be far worse off with a lot of them, particularly stuff like product regulation. An idea I toy with is something like citizen supervisory boards auditing the various bureaucracies - and shutting them down or forcing them to reorganize when they aren’t working. To avoid insider dealing, this would be made up of randonly selected citizens, drafted in much the same way juries are drafted (and not “elected” from a bunch of pet bureaucrats as is often the case with outfits like “transit authorities”, etc).

    3. That said, I generally agree that in a hugely complex modern world, the libertarian dream of having everything be “caveat emptor” simply is unworkable.

    4. Another notion is we may have reached the simple mathematical limits of electoral democracy. We need to come up with post-electoral ways to insure democratic legitimacy in a vast country. Wealth and celebrity are required to win elections nowadays, and the political parties are primarily electoral machines. I think we need a two-tier system, where elections are used to pick which members of the national elite will be in one part of the government, and a random draft of citizens would be used to counter the power of the elites in another part.

    The wealth and extremes of ability/luck/whatever required to win national office pretty much guarantees that our national representatives are emphatically not “representative” of the population.

    Anyway, enough of my junk. I’m normally a lurker here, but this series is one of the best things I’ve seen on blogs in a long time.

  9. 9
    Maggie's Farm Trackbacked With:
    5:45 am 

    Our Brave New World…

    VDH takes a look at what’s going on, and he is not pleased. He touches most of the bases.
    Related, Melanie Phillips on America, What Have You done?
    Related: Rick Moran looks at the future of Conservatism. It’s depressing, but I think he is wrong….

  10. 10
    sara in va Said:
    8:27 am 

    I suppose conservatism will be out of favor until our current course proves untenable. Meaning, the “gap” between rich and poor is nearly closed, and the poor are finally forced to pay their share.

    Anyway, I don’t know one conservative who espouses the elimination of government. Any person who is arguing against conservatism on that plane doesn’t know crap. Logic prevails on the need for government….but I would like for someone to explain to me the rationale behind a federal Office of Faith. And don’t say, hey Bush started it. It was wrong then, too.

    #4, Nagarajan Sivakumar, you rock. You are an honorary citizen…if you care to be.

  11. 11
    sara in va Said:
    8:34 am 

    I was looking at the CPAC Agenda and tallying up all the speakers and organizations involved in the conference.

    Everything sounds peachy, wow, we’ve got the Taxpayer’s Union, and Americans for Limited Government, and Citizens Against Government Waste, and Citizens in Charge, Cato, Heritage, American Conservative Union…..on and on.

    We’ve become nearly as bloated as the freakin’ federal government. Maybe if people weren’t so concerned about defending their turfs, we could do a better job fighting the enemy together (there’s only so much money available) and maybe win the war, for once.

    The liberals do a much better job of organizing, but then, they are experts at bureaucracy and always will be.

    Case in point. All these conservatives and we ended up with McCain. We suck.

  12. 12
    Nagarajan Sivakumar Said:
    12:19 pm 

    Sara in VA,
    I believe that the CPAC has become some kind of a refuge for conservatives. I am not sure i understand your point about them being bloated - they are not funded by taxpayer money, are they ? i am assuming that conservatives dontate to these conferences/meetings etc out of their own interest/free will.

    It is almost like people go to the CPAC to get away from the real world where most people dont care about government’s role in our lives and the only ones who do “care” want to do the “caring” for every one else too.

    McCain won in the last election season because conservatives did not have much to hang their hat on, other than national defense/surge in Iraq - and since he was the most senior Republican candidate who had legitimate national security credentials and bet on the surge, he seemed to get the votes.

    I am not sure if any candidate could have won on the GOP ticket - there were’nt any true conservatives (Romney’s health insurance plan in MA and his tepid support for the surge, not to mention his sudden change of heart on abortion did nt help him.)

    I have heard some good things about Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor etc. May be they could be the new leaders of the conservatives in this country ?

    Jindal is still a little too young. And I dont know if Sarah Palin would want to put herself and her family through the kind of outright hatred/loathing from the left.

    I still dont know how Bush got through the last 8 years.I know that he had a strong faith and loving family, but this guy took a lot of crap - with a lot of dignity.

    It is going to be a loooooong whatever number of years :-(

  13. 13
    sara in va Said:
    12:56 pm 

    #12
    Bloated was a poor word choice…redundant?

    There are a lot of groups all saying pretty much the same thing. Kind of like the overlapping advisers, cabinets and offices at the federal level. And everyone needs money to operate….my inbox is completely full with donation requests.

  14. 14
    Nagarajan Sivakumar Said:
    5:22 pm 

    Sara,
    I get it now - so there are many organizations that are essentially doing the same thing and dont have a whole lot of differences between them. You ideally would like to support all of them but wouldnt be able to give each of them financial support.

    I have never done political grassroots related work- it is hard work, I suppose. But i will add my 2C.

    I think you should choose one or two organizations to give to - before you dontate to them, you also need to do how they use your money.

    Ideally it should be the RNC that takes the lead role in co-ordinating the activities between these groups. But if they dont do that, it is up to you to decide who most deserves your financial support - who does a better job of political organizing/ fighting the fight at the local level,supporting a reasonably conservative candidate in local/state elections etc

    I also believe that volunteering with organizations that you cannot donate to would also be appreciated. Although i could be wrong about this.

  15. 15
    Chazz Said:
    8:16 pm 

    The upper limit on the net size of government, Federal, State, and local should be based on affordability, not on some philosophical construct based on presumptive needs. Thereafter, the question should be one of allocation; Conservatives making those decisions based the Constitution. History shows that after the government takes more than about 22% of net income out of a society, decline sets in.

  16. 16
    bs jones Said:
    4:03 am 

    Chazz,

    How about a few examples. Are there any examples from history that do not fit your ctiteria?

  17. 17
    mannning Said:
    9:47 am 

    After reading “Outrage” by Dick Morris, one can surmise that fully a fifth of the national budget can be chalked up to fraud, graft, quasi-legal junketing, subsidies unnecessarily paid out to favorite big farmers, drug companies, the UN, Fannie Mae, for Illegal immigrants, and trade protection, among other extravaganzas.

    If one increases the size of government, one could expect a similar increase in these practices, or even a further penetration and corruption of the political scene, not unlike the so-called stimulus pork project. A billion here, and a billion there, and you soon have a fuly corrupted process.

    Before letting government grow to its theoretical service-to-the-people limit, why not insist on cleaning up the fraud and corruption first, and the waste, mismanagement, and deadhead personnel that bloats payrolls and budgets throughout the Departments, Agencies, etc?

    The concept that there just might eventually be one government employee for each civilian so as to cater to the citizen’s every wish is perhaps one theoretical limit to be avoided. Once over 50% of the population garners their wages from the US government, we are well on the way to restrictive socialism and who knows what excesses? This would put freedom and liberty for our citizens in great jeopardy.

    Let us first concentrate on greater honesty and efficiency of government, legislators, lobbyists, and industry before allowing insatiable growth of government to satisfy every whim of the “Need and Right” groups.

    Go to the LSU website to see just how many identifiable federal government organizations actually exist, have a staff, and budget. At last report it was 1,177 boards, committees, agencies, commissions, bureaus and the like. Many of these organizations have overlapping charters, separate rules and and a thirst for participation in the business of the day to justify their existence. We have become Russia, governed by 10,000 (or a lot more) clerks, not the leaders.

    It is all well and good to deep six the idea of smaller government, but we must have our government honest, minimally invasive of our freedoms and liberties, efficient, and cost-effective.

    You don’t get there by opening the door to growth without reform.

  18. 18
    bsjones Said:
    1:42 pm 

    Manning,
    I agree 100%. As citizens and voters we have an entry point to break the cycle of corruption. It is called voting. We can no longer afford to vote for someone to keep our favored party in the majority.

    Meat in the freezer. Throw them out.
    Cold cash in the freezer. Throw therm out.

    This applies equally to T. Dascle and T. Delay types. THEY ALL HAVE TO GO.

  19. 19
    mannning Said:
    2:03 pm 

    The link to the LSU listing of government entities is:

    http://www.lib.lsu.edu/gov/index.html

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