Friday, January 29, 2010

The Era of Laissez-Faire?


No matter how big the government is, if there are any problems, it’s always because the government isn’t big enough!



Shawn said...

I'd like to see the same chart as a percentage of GDP...wonder what it would do?

Jason Woertink said...

Also the y-axis is misleading.

thinking said...

I agree with Jason...starting the Y-axis at 900 rather than zero creates a false visual comparison.

Not to mention that the analysis neglects so many other factors...reducing the measure of govt "size" to "Number of Federal Subsidy Programs" does not begin to tell the whole story.

The types of programs, the way they are administered, the cost of programs, the percent of GDP...all of these are very relevant.

Also, how is "program" defined? Let's take a new jet for the that one program, even though it involves many complex projects and contracts? How does one define "program" with regards to the DOD budget? Is it fair to classify a school lunch program the same as a new jet or tank, even though the jet or tank costs so much more, and is so much more complex?

How about the Patriot Act? How about the Iraq War? How many "programs" does that constitute?

The chart becomes almost meaningless.

The bottom line is still the same: Most people believe that we need some govt, but not too much.

The question is how much, and applied in what areas? I do believe that one cannot take a blanket attitude that all govt is bad, which sadly I seem to see too many "conservatives" doing.

It's not really about big govt or small's about smart govt. Also, let's face it: neither party will deliver truly "small" govt.

thinking said...

I've stated this before, but I also believe it is incumbent upon the critics of "big" government to define exactly what "small" government is or would look like.

I also believe it is incumbent upon critics of "big" government to state exactly what government programs one would reduce or eliminate.

One reason why government keeps growing is because the critics of "big" govt never offer a realistic alternative; it may get some elected, but then they too have to face realities.

Even Reagan, whom many in the conservative camp cite as their champion of limited government, expanded government and is the father of today's astronomically huge deficits. Reagan not only ran deficits, but he was the first to just explode them in the post WWII era, and began the Republican mindset which has proven so harmful to the nation over the past few decades: spend big, cut taxes, but somehow talk about small govt, pretend that the Laffer curve really applies, and basically ignore reality.

Shawn said...

why would the burden of proof be on those favoring liberty?