Poll after poll shows that Americans think government is too big. Yet, since the 1930’s government programs, agencies and regulations continue to expand with more people becoming dependent upon the government and others getting caught up in a tangled web of bureaucracy . The Founding Fathers believed the purpose of government was to protect our “inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Government was not meant to guarantee the outcomes of our efforts, nor support us from cradle to grave.
In order to halt the growth of government, we need to understand the virtues of a smaller, limited government and the dangers of a larger, looming one.
First and foremost, a limited and smaller government is less expensive. The less we look to government to solve problems, the less we as taxpayers have to pay. We the people pay for these programs, including employee salaries and benefits.
Secondly, a smaller, limited government cuts down on waste, fraud and inefficiency. With so many agencies, how can anyone keep track of all that goes on? And with all the bureaucracy, how does anything even get done? Where is the accountability? And with all these agencies, departments and commissions, one can only imagine the duplication of services, not to mention the unnecessary ones.
All one has to do is go to the directory of federal departments and agencies (www.usa.gove/directory/federal/index.shtlm) to see the massive amounts of bureaucracy. There are 35 departments, commissions and agencies listed under letter “A” of the directory. Now imagine all the layers within each of these to operate them along with the 25 other letters to go through. It’s staggering! Again, we, the taxpayer, are paying for this.
Third, limited government values individual and economic freedom. Less government means less intrusion into our lives. The more freedom from government regulation or mandates, the more choices citizens can make on an individual and financial level. We can live our lives as we see fit, not how the government sees fit. People can act and live according to their own way of thinking and not by government mandate. These individual rights includes personal privacy, which is the expectation that in most cases we can be left alone to live our lives. The right to privacy and personal freedom comes with the understanding that our individual rights end as soon as they infringe upon another’s. We do not want a government agency telling us what we can and should eat to what kind of cars we can and should drive. The individual is left with the responsibility of his or her own decisions and actions. Can you imagine living in a country with a government that tells you where you can live, what kind of house you can have and what course of study you must take?
The fourth virtue of a limited government is freedom in the market place. The less the government gets involved in the marketplace, the more businesses can thrive and create a competitive and innovative atmosphere. Competition and innovation is what drives consumer freedom and offers products at all price points. Without competition, what reason do companies have to improve their product, make it more cost-effective and offer impeccable customer service? As companies prosper under these conditions, profits are made, re-invested and jobs are created.
Once the government starts over-regulating, businesses are given another layer or two of paperwork in order to comply. Money that could have been re-invested into creating more jobs is diverted to compliance. As the cost of doing business goes up, so does the cost of the product or service.
For every regulation, mandate or requirement, another government employee or two or three or four needs to be hired to ensure compliance. And the consumer gets hit again in the pocket - once for the increased cost of the product and second for the salaries and benefits of the government employee.
Fifth, smaller, limited government creates an environment of independence and individualism. Once the government is called upon to solve a problem, it usually becomes worse instead of better and does nothing to alleviate the core of the problem it set out to solve. A program set up as a safety net in too many instances becomes a way of life. These programs are initiated as a reaction to a problem and don’t take into consideration the long-term consequences or the effect on the community as a whole. They start out small, but somehow grow until those who they were meant to help become completely dependent upon them instead of themselves. The long-term effect is government programs deny people the ability to live their lives as they see fit.
Americans are overwhelming generous and are happy to help their fellow citizen through donations and working with charitable organizations. But have government programs done more harm than good when they take away a person’s inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness because they are caught up in a system they can’t get out of? When people are the recipient of government aid, they live with the fear of “what the government gives, the government can take away.”
The only way for people to live a fulfilling life – one that they create, one that they choose – is to live under a government that limits its infringement into the daily lives of its citizens.A limited government is the one that offers ALL its citizens the right to individual and economic freedom with the liberty to pursue our lives as we see fit.