Powerful government versus a large one

We often focus on the size of government, as measured in percentage of GDP taxed and spent by the government, which is an important and measurable concept. But our real concern is power. What kind of power does the government wield over the people? Powerful state institutions tend to be large, but that doesn’t mean that a larger state is necessarily exercising more power. Imagine a small town that adds two officers to its police force. Now it has more police officers, and that costs more money; the government is “larger.” But if the officers now do a better job of arresting violent criminals and protecting the lives and property of the people — and refrain from arresting or hassling non-criminals — then the government has not expanded its power. Indeed, better eight officers protecting lives and property than six officers enforcing drug laws and blue laws. We should focus on what is actually important — the exercise of arbitrary power over others.

David Boaz/The Cato Institute

He’s right. Big government is not necessarily a bad thing, if the people choose to enlarge it and if the people choose to fund it. But I don’t think, for instance, that the Founders had a Department of Education in mind when they wrote the Constitution. (You can replace that department with Health and Human Services, Agriculture or any other big government department of your choosing.) The Founders believed that those “services” would best serve the people at the local level. The people would decide how much government they wanted and how much they would be willing to fund. And those departments, because they were local, would be accountable and responsible to the people who chose to fund an enlarged local government.

The seal with branches that resemble sinister tentacles entwined in the leaves and an acorn, which now has an entirely new meaning in our society.

At some point though, this big federal government power grab took place and some do-gooders and greedy elected politicians in Washington, DC determined that the people weren’t smart enough or capable of determining the appropriate curriculum their children needed. They believed that people needed Ivy League academics, primarily from the Left Coast, to make the rules and determine the curriculum for students in Rock Springs, Wyoming and San Diego, California.

Isn’t it more sensible for a citizen to call their school board member or attend a meeting to voice concerns than give it all up to some bureaucrat in Washington, DC? How can an elite academician in Washington know what the needs and desires of students and parents in Butte, Montana are? What gives them the right to mandate rules and regulations on people 2000 miles away?

Departments like education should only exist on the county and state levels and by the decision of the local citizens to determine their existence or not. It would be then responsive and responsible to the citizens who are funding them with their own tax dollars. The people would be able to determine what and how their children are being taught. And people would be able to decide if those school districts were places they wanted their children to be educated in.

Education is a prime example of a state’s rights issue, as is abortion, the death penalty and other areas that the federal government has imposed themselves in.

As Ronald Reagan said, Americans have the freedom to vote with their feet. If a person doesn’t like the government, rules, laws and regulations in one state, he can move to another. Mark Levin, in his book Liberty and Tyranny, said that the mobility of Americans to relocate to areas that are more compatible to their beliefs and desires is what the Founders had in mind and that this diversity in states is what created a more “harmonious union.” I agree and believe that this is what the Founders believed, too.

Instead, what has evolved from the Founders original vision is a one-size fits all kind of government – a socialist government – where the needs and desires of the individual is trumped by the collective majority and power-hungry big federal bureaucracy.

The Founders had faith and trust in the intelligence of the people to govern themselves. We have gone 180 degrees from that and it will be difficult, if not impossible, to ever return to what they had in mind.

7 responses to “Powerful government versus a large one


    We are not all to blame.
    Our task is to eliminate this progressive, out of control, last ditch effort to plow the Constitution into past history.
    We the People cannot allow that to happen.
    Never say die!
    Obama is exposing himself as an incompetent President.
    He preys on the ignorant.
    The incessant sound bites on the government run media only helps to reinforce the idea of flooding the sheep mentality who tune into CNN and MSNBC every night, and take it as the gospel according to Obama.

    • roxannadanna

      Oh I think we are to blame. We allowed the creation of the EPA, of OSHA, of the Dept. of Education, and on and on.
      None of us had a clue what this kind of power these depts would and will wield. Now we are seeing it. Look at Crap-N-Tax. Congress will not be able to stop it because the EPA has the blessings of the Supreme Court.
      But the big thing is that we are now aware of what evil can come from do-gooder policies and we can make changes.

      • AFVET

        I agree!
        It has been too long !
        We the People are alive and well and alert to what is happening to our country.
        With God’s help, we will bring Her back from the brink of the chaos of embedded socialistic policies.
        The claim of the republican party that they will repeal the draconian policies of the health care bill should be our question as to HOW?
        No more crap about well, parliamentary procedure is implemented, and we will proceed as is necessary.
        BS !
        Anybody that survives this upcoming election season on the conservative side, should be notified that their feet are being held to the fire.
        We have learned our lesson, and Obama will learn his.

      • AFVET

        How would you have stopped the creation of the EPA?
        Or Fannie and Freddie?
        The are 159 new agencies that will be created to administer the behemoth called the Health Care Bill.
        We stop it by eliminating socialistic representatives in congress, and electing Constitutional conservatives to guide our precious country back on track.

  • roxannadanna

    We are all to blame for letting this happen but now we are aware and educated and ready to right it.

    And ready to fight it! You’re a great patriot VET!


    Your last paragraph nails it.
    It amazes me to witness the ignorance that exists pertaining to the direction of our country.
    Obama is not a god, he is a public servant.
    He took an oath to support the Constitutional Principles that anchor this country to freedom, and liberty.
    He has exposed himself as a liar, a charlatan, and an individual who dismisses the will of the people.
    To my dismay, family members are woefully ignorant as to the direction this country is headed.

    The attempt to shut down the voices on the internet is only another attempt to dumb down the people.

    The desperation on the left should be indicative of
    the potential power control they want.

    Fool me once,…fool me twice. NAH !

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