“Big” & “Small” Government

I keep hearing Republican politicians–most notably the presidential and vice-presidential candidates–talking about the need to “keep government small.”

Excuse me? Do they think government as we know it is small? It’s HUGE. It controls most of the health care field; most of the banking industry; the entire money supply, through the federal reserve; the entire labor force, at least in large or medium-sized companies, through payroll taxes and regulations; an increasing amount of speech, through the FCC and other agencies; nearly half of private wealth through coercive redistribution. The list goes on and on.

Compared to what the American founders had in mind, based on what they wrote about and publicly argued, today’s federal government is virtually a dictatorship against the people–sadly, a dictatorship that most people seem to want. But this is still no excuse for calling something other than what it is, especially from the “Straight Talk Express.” Today’s government is HUGE. If McCain and Palin feel that’s a good thing, they should say so. If they don’t think so, they should be more clear. Otherwise, they give their opponents free reign to claim: “Oh, we’ll keep government small. We’re just going to make it a little bit bigger so people can feel secure and happy … blah, blah, blah.”

Words used to mean a lot more. I suppose that’s because ideas once meant a lot more. It’s always possible for this to change. But it hasn’t happened yet. A thinking government, in a democratic republic, requires a nation of thinkers. Any other thinkers out there?