Excessive Power: Why Big Government is a Bad Thing
[Thanks to Transparency-USA.org for this world chart of corruption perception.]
Let me make a list of reasons why Big Government is bad:
1. All power is a corrupting force; and all human beings are susceptible to this force. It is a rare person who can resist the temptations offered by power, whether he or she be a Democrat or Republican.
2. Viewed from the other end, power is a magnet for the unscrupulous.
3. The free market works best without government intervention. (See my Economics and Government Lessons starting with my first blog posts in March 2005.)
4. The US Constitution's underlying message is the restraint of government power. Unfortunately, and of necessity, it allows for interpretation; and the present set of citizens has permitted its understanding of our Constitution to distance itself from the one originally intended. We no longer envisage the dangers from which the Founding Fathers were trying to protect us. It may not be our fault; we've just personally never experienced tyranny to any great degree.
5. Less government intervention in our life would mean more freedom to succeed and to fail, and failing is also a necessary part of the process of societal improvement.
6. I am convinced incomes would be more equally distributed not through more regulation (although rules, on the other hand, are essential), but through a freer market economy and through an economic system that relies not upon economist-humans like Bernanke to set the fiat money supply, but upon an objective and unflinching monetary standard like gold. Gold is incorruptible.
7. It is Big Government that becomes so powerful it can, for example, protect a trillion-dollar industry while that industry is creating the machine of its own destruction (e.g. credit derivatives).
These are some of the underlying reasons why the people of any democracy must struggle to contain the size of their government. No one in office should be faced with the incentives to act the way the various interlocutors in the Smoking Gun illustration are acting; and no office should be so lucrative that it attracts the criminally-minded. Yet I'm sure this type of conversation is rampant in today's Big-Government politics the world over.
But aren't we better than that? Well, see how the US ranks in competitiveness and corruption, according to Transparency-USA.org.