Smaller Government

Sunday, November 19, 2006
Is there really a desire among the electorate for smaller government? This is not a facetious question. I have come to wonder if this is something that most Americans really do not care about.

I remember that Bush did not really want the 9/11 Commission or a new department of Homeland Security for that matter but there was public pressure for both. The result of course was a large expansion of the federal government. But at the time of its creation the Homeland Security Department was originally opposed by Bush who was criticized for that opposition:

The Gallup polling reported yesterday found that even though Democrats originated the proposal for a permanent homeland security department and President Bush initially opposed the concept, he was later successful in convincing a majority of Americans that it was a White House idea.

Three-fourths of Republicans polled say the new department will be at least somewhat effective and approve of it. Little more than half of all Democrats said they think it will be somewhat effective. One in 10 Democrats said they expect that the department "will not be effective at all."

There has been some criticism by conservatives of the drug prescription plan, but there is still pressure from the public to do more to help people pay for health care:

In an extensive ABCNEWS/Washington Post poll , Americans by a 2-1 margin, 62-32 percent, prefer a universal health insurance program over the current employer-based system. That support, however, is conditional: It falls to fewer than four in 10 if it means a limited choice of doctors, or waiting lists for non-emergency treatments.

Such a program would mean a much larger role for government and yet there certainly does not seem to be a groundswell of resistance to the idea, in fact more and more people seem to be warming to the idea.

I also noticed that among immigration hardliners there was never an attempt to honestly portray the costs in terms of added resources in manpower and money to ridding the country of all illegal aliens. The idea was that since this is a necessary function of government the costs is irrelevant.

But doesn't everyone feel that way? If it matters to me, it is important and the costs should be borne, the people hired, the bills passed.

In truth I think that most people would prefer the good old standard tax the rich policy to stringent budget cuts and while Americans are most certainly capitalists and not socialists they do feel that it is more important that government be effective rather than limited in size and scope. I think the libertarians are wrong on this, in fact I think they are naive.


Syl said...

Milton Friedman's arguments re political freedom with smaller government aside, I think most arguments I hear in the blogosphere concerning this have to do with money and efficiency more than anything else. And a lot of those arguments don't resonate with much of the country.

My own reason for advocating for smaller government has more to do with social and cultural issues than with money. They are all entwined, yes. But Big Brother is trying to influence my behavior and attitude concerning everything from smoking to birth control to what I eat and I'm damn sick of it.

I think a lot of govt. agencies should simply disappear.

Which brings me to the scary EU. There was a time, not long ago, when it didn't even exist! Now look at how many people are employed in that bureacracy and the impossibility of chucking the whole thing because everyone would be out of a job.

Good luck trying to trim our own govt.

I think both the Friedman vision and that of the Democrats are utopian ideals, neither of which will ever be reached. But each side keeps the other in check.

Unless one side decides to punish its own and throws them out of office leaving the vacuum to be filled by--voila--the other side's vision.

Smart move guys.

On health insurance. Arghhh. I fell through the cracks and currently have none. My doctor would not refill my prescriptions unless I came in for a checkup. So I marched into the office, announced I had no insurance and no money, so they said "$25 please" and that was that.

My doctor gave me a month of free samples, and told me to come back in a couple of months for the tests I'm supposed to get annually. That's quite a bit more and I haven't done it yet but will in a few weeks.

And I'm losing my right eye.

terrye said...


My mother had RP, it took away her sight. It is hereditary so I have to be tested. Why I do not know, it is not curable.

I deal with the USDA enough in farming and I have to deal with Medicare and Medicaid regs enough to know the government can be a real pain in the ass. But then again any large bureacracy is.

I think, however, people expect certain things. Especially when it comes to something like health care. Buying those cheap drugs from Canada made a lot of people wonder why they are so damn expensive here. I know and you know, but still people always feel like someone is ripping them off.

For instance I have mentioned that I have a client who is on medicare and medicaid, he is young and disabled. His parents have good jobs, they are not destitute and what is more they are big Republicans in the area...but they by God make sure they get everything they can for that guy. It is not welfare when they are the recepients. That is people.