What’s the matter with government? Why doesn’t Big Government work?

Why don’t the politicians fix it? Why can’t we run it like a business?

It’s not because the wrong people are in charge. It’s not because we have the wrong policies. It’s not because we’ve failed to implement the right reforms.

Big Government is the problem.

Consider the Five Iron Laws of Big Government.

1. Big Government Programs don’t work.

Big Government Programs don’t solve the problems they were created to solve. They don’t produce the results they were intended to produce. They don’t deliver the benefits they were supposed to. Do Government Welfare Programs get people back on their feet and enable them to become self-supporting individuals? Do Government subsidies and bailouts of businesses make their recipients stronger and more competitive? Big Government Economic and Social Programs don’t work.

2. Big Government Programs often make things worse for the very people they’re intended to help.

Big Government decided that too many poor people in America lived in sub-standard dwellings. So it created Urban Renewal Programs – bulldozing and tearing down 4 times as many dwellings as it built. Result? Tens of thousands of families without roofs over their heads. (See The Federal Bulldozer by Martin Anderson.)

Big Government created “The Great Society” welfare system to help the needy. Results? A culture of irresponsibility and dependency. A welfare system that entices and rewards people for getting on and staying on the dole. (See Losing Ground by Charles Murray)

How many stories have you heard about Big Government Programs that backfire? How many others haven’t you heard about?

3. Big Government Programs create new problems.

The Federal Government created Medicare to help senior citizens and Medicaid to help the poor with medical care. Unintended consequences? Massive government funding for these programs drove up health care costs – for those participating and those not. It made doctors and hospitals accountable to the government – instead of patients. It breeched patient-doctor medical confidentiality. It set in motion the drive toward a Government Monopoly – “Single-Payer” or “Universal” – Health Care System. Toward Socialized Medicine.

Social Security? Government Central Planning of Education? Government Disaster Relief? The War on Drugs? Mandatory Minimums? All create new problems. Unintended consequences.

4. Big Government Programs are costly and wasteful.

Have you ever heard about government cost under-runs? How many times have you read about government projects that come in at 5 or 10 or 20 times the price initially agreed to? Why aren’t Big Government Programs thrifty? Because they don’t have to be. It’s not their money. Every year, the officials running these Big Government programs go back to their local or state or federal legislators for bigger budgets and more tax dollars.

5. Big Government Programs divert money and energy from positive, productive uses.

Big Government Programs are funded with hundreds of billions of tax dollars. Taken from productive workers and businesses. Every dollar drained from the private sector is a dollar that the individuals and businesses who earned it can’t spend, save, invest, or give to effective private organizations and programs that help those less fortunate.

Charities, churches, and service organizations strive to assist those in need – and help them become self-sufficient. Because these organizations rely on voluntary donations, they are directly accountable to their supporters. Because they operate on lean budgets, they streamline their operations, eliminate needless overhead, and seek better ways to help those unable to help themselves. They regularly produce good results – at a fraction of the expense of comparable Big Government Programs.

Do these Five Iron Laws of Big Government fit in with what you believe?

Does this brief sketch of the costs and consequences of Big Government Programs match your experience?

Do you agree that Big Government doesn’t work? Do you want small government? Take the Small Government Pledge℠.

Five Iron Laws of Big Government Copyright 1995 by Michael Cloud