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  • Rethinking Big Government

    As Congress returns to Washington, the crucial decisions that await lawmakers will have enormous financial ramifications for the country for years to come. House and Senate leaders continue their struggle to land a health care bill on the President’s desk this month, even though proposed legislation would add to the federal deficit long-term, requires states to spend more on programs they are currently seeking to cut back on, and slam Americans of all incomes with new taxes. Accompanying the health care debate is the attempt to raise the ceiling on the national debt, giving Congress even more spending ability. All of this follows in the wake of the failed and costly stimulus bill.

    From the behavior of our elected officials, one might think a government spending crisis was non-existent, or at least a long way off in the future. Think again, folks—it’s here.

    In a recent editorial, Harvard’s Stephen Goldsmith discusses why it’s time for all levels of government, from local to federal, to come to grips with the fact that today’s budget deficits are not a short-term byproduct of the recession. Rather, deficits are due to the long-term dilemma of big government which makes massive promises of public services that it simply can’t pay for. Judging from the agenda of the current Congress, this is a problem which is on the verge of exacerbation, rather than extermination.

    In order to truly address the growing federal deficit, lawmakers must abandon past strategies for addressing economic downturn. Says Goldsmith, “We need to break out of our old patterns of thinking and break some old habits.”

    First of all, federal aid for the states will not cure, but simply delay the effects of, state budgetary trouble. The stimulus bill exemplifies this point. Federal dollars provided short term relief, but will force state budgets into the red when federal aid ends. This does nothing but prolong needed change.

    Secondly, deficit spending must come to an end. Peterson and Pew Foundations show in a recent report that under current conditions, the public debt could rise to 100% of GDP by just 2022. This would inevitably lead to an unprecedented fiscal crisis. Tax increases won’t solve the problem, either, but would instead stifle economic growth and place heavy burdens on Americans already struggling to make ends meet. Lawmakers must resist the urge to delay the effects of the growing deficit until sometime down the road when someone else will be in office to deal with it. The devastating effects of out-of-control government spending can be averted if elected officials take responsibility and address the problem now.

    Finally, state and federal legislators and the public alike need to get serious about the financial crunch the country is facing. Short-term fixes, like hiring freezes and employee furloughs, are not enough to address the issue at hand.

    Rather than continue to throw small solutions at a big problem, it is time for the United States to rethink the public sector. The reality is that government’s promises to the electorate are unsustainable in the long-run and will drive the country to ruin if left unaddressed. As Goldsmith puts it, “Like it or not, fiscal crisis is the new normal.”

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    12 Responses to Rethinking Big Government

    1. David A. White says:

      Our biggest problem is getting the deadbeats off the federal hogtrough. We only have about half of our eligible adult citizens who are able and willing to work. I dont care what laws go into effect, it is hard to have a viable tax base with only a small part of our citizens paying.

    2. Bill P. Foxboro, Ma says:

      I don't believe you have a reader that disagrees with this opinion. The problem we have at our level is turning these principles into action. You describe the problem with no recommendations as to how we can influence policy at the state level.

      If there is one thing we have learned this year is that peole who were once complacent are now up out of their chairs. They all, we all, need guidance as to how to effect change. To most of us, our perspective is that both parties just want to maintain the "status guo". We need something to latch onto today so we know we are making a difference today.

      Thanks for you time.

    3. philip hilliker says:

      DEFEAT BIG GOVERMENT AT THE POLLS NOV.2010 remove all polical supporters of big goverment and replace them with free enterprise candiats

    4. Michael Murphy, Wino says:

      We are an entrepreneurial manufacturing company that, with a little innovation, hard working people, and a lot of help from a gracious God, has been able to grow and prosper. We are a company that still hires people, pays taxes and builds products that help others. We are the kind of “Made in America” small business that politicians refer to as the backbone of our economy.

      But, like never before we fear for our future, perhaps even our ability to survive. We do not fear off shore manufacturers, other companies with better ideas nor the ups and downs that will occur in any economy.

      What we fear is our own out-of-control government, with its “too big to fail” bailouts, back-room giveaways and irresponsible spending. Congress and the White House are ignoring the working, employing and taxpaying Americans that keep this nation afloat. Our government is shamelessly manipulating numbers, facts and messages to gain more control and more power. They are handing out massive pay-offs and bribes with money we work to earn…money that our unborn children will be on the hook for.

      Why is it that, when Iran is defying the world to develop nuclear weapons and millions of Americans must now start their days without jobs, Healthcare Reform, Cap & Tax and Global Warming are at the top of this government’s “gotta do now” list ?

      These things have virtually nothing to do with improving healthcare, producing affordable energy or creating jobs. They are but long-standing goals of political movements to gain control of vast aspects of everyone’s lives and incomes. All with our money, but without our permission.

      A 2,409 page Senate bill…Ridiculous. A 1,990 page House bill…Ludicrous.

      By comparison, the legislation that created Social Security was just 82 pages and even fewer pages were necessary to declare our independence. A truism in life is that the bigger the contract, the more one should suspect that contract.

      We are told to believe that the Federal Government will streamline healthcare. This from the same Government that has failed to effectively manage Social Security, Medicare, the Post Office, Amtrak and a 23-year old with a bomb in his underwear.

      Democrat, Republican, Independent or Tea Party Patriot…label us if you will, but we are an awakening giant of hard-working Americans, fed-up with governmental incompetence, arrogance and self serving behaviors. Enough with the closed door negotiations and corrupt deals that are destroying our economy and our country. We are Americans and will not allow a few hundred people, elected or not, to take down what so many have struggled and even died to build and protect.

      Stop Spending Our Money Now !

      Comfortex, Inc, Management & Associates

    5. Pingback: » Rethinking Big Government | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News. RWPS

    6. Ben C. Ann Arbor, MI says:

      Well said Michael. Sadly, Obama and his cohorts are not students of history. One need only look at the Roaring Twenty's to understand supply side economics (Calvin Coolidge) and the Great Depression to look at the illusion of wealth. The Dow should be around 9500 to 10,000 if one follows the graph since the inception of the Dow averages. The 14,000 Dow a few years ago was an illusion of wealth created by government (Carter et al) and supported by greed. The bubble burst, as it always will, and the current recession ensued. Increasing taxes is not the answer, increasing federal spending is not the answer – indiviudal freedom from government agendas is the answer. If the federal government would simply get out of the way and let us do out thing our recovery would be rapid. No chance this will happen with our current Congress.

    7. Pingback: Obama, Please Come to Massachusetts « Common Sense from a Common Man

    8. Drew Page, IL says:

      We have a president and a majority in Congress the want to turn this country socialist. They will promise the masses anything they think the masses want to hear in order to get their votes and will offer only excuses to the masses when the promises they made go unfulfilled.

      Some are doing this because they believe that socialism is better than our current system. Some are doing it to gain political power and control. I really don't care what their reasons are; I'm against it.

      We have seen what socialism has brought to any country that has accepted it. The middle class is destroyed. Only the top political operatives are wealthy, because they game the system, just as our own politicians do here. At least here in America, an individual still has the ability and opportunity to excel and prosper. This is what provides the incentive for people to work hard. what's the incentive under socialism?

      I keep hearing we need to discuss these issues civilly. How in God's name can you be civil to someone who think's he/she has a right to what you have earned, what you have built or what you have accumulated through your own honest efforts, because THEY don't think it's fair. It's like having a nice polite conversation with the theif that is stealing all that you have. How would a normal person react to a group of people who knocked on your door, pushed their way into your house, went into your fridge and helped themselves to whatever they wanted and told you that if you didn't like it, that was too bad. IN their opinion you had more than enough and they didn't have anything and so it was their right to take what you had.

      This is what Obama and his majority of millionaire Democrats in Congress are twelling us. And we are being told to discuss the matter civilly with them.

    9. John Clancy, Wyandot says:

      It appears to me now that the only way we can change the attitude of the millionaire democrats and President Obama is to organizie at the grassroots level more effectively than acorn did in 2008 so that in November of 2010 we will have the groundwork ready to overwhelmingly vote for those who will resist the socialist agenda in favor of freedom and our constitution.

      I say OVERWHELMINGLY because close decisions will go in favor of the socialists by way of the courts planted by President Obama.

      We must begin NOW to get a leader in every precinct in America who is convinced that the arrogant leaders who thwart our constitution and ignore our desire for freedom will be CONVINCINGLY REMOVED FROM OFFICE.

      Contact Freedom Force.us and get involved near your home.

    10. Scott Harding, Wagon says:

      One of the problems with our big government is that it will require a complete overhaul of the majority of our citizens' way of thinking. It will take drastic measures to reverse the path to socialism that this country is on. One of the big reasons for this is the frequency of embedded politicians who will trade government spending and services for votes. Part of the answer to this is term limits. This would allow good and decent people to govern and follow their principles without worrying about being reelected.

    11. Rick74 says:

      Re: Getting lots of people back to work (to raise our tax base) -

      Without a viable manufacturing sector, the US will have a very hard time raising its employment posture. Not all of our citizens can aspire to high-technology jobs in cutting-edge industries.

      Somehow, this nation needs to rethink and reimplement a strategy by which citizens can be employed in worthwhile endeavors, making wages that can support families.

      This requires reimplementing and reinvigorating a manufacturing sector gone overseas and hollowed out by those seeking ever-increasing profits built on cheap overseas labor.

      Maybe, faced with higher costs for petroleum and corresponding transportation, it might make business/economic sense to bring manufacturing jobs back home.

      It would certainly make socio-economic sense.

    12. Samantha, Texas says:


      I am not eloquent, but I am irritated. There is a very liberal site:


      The people who post there are liberal, except for one republican conservative, who is also liberal.

      I found the site because of posts about Christianity. They are Christians.

      The last two posts were very annoying socialist commentaries.

      Can someone who is eloquent and knowledgeable please respond to these people? I would do it, but I am not a debater.

      I will say this, they are VERY unbalanced and there is nothing fair about it.

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