by Michael Cloud

“I’m in favor of smaller government,” says one politician. “It means lower taxes for all of us. But to make America independent of foreign control, we must achieve energy independence. That’s why I will vote to increase support for gasohol.”

“Government is too big,” says another. “We must cut back on the needless spending and go after waste. But America’s defense requires strong basic industry. We can and must have a vibrant steel industry to provide the materials we need for tanks, ships, airplanes, missiles, and other defense systems. We must have sturdy tariffs against foreign dumping, underpricing, and subsidies that injure our steel industry.”

“We must restore limited government,” says a third politician. “We’ve got to end the boondoggles and get rid of the pork. Yet none of us is free if our lives and properties can be wrenched from us by Acts of God. By hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, or earthquakes. That is why I am asking for massive funding increases for FEMA. (Federal Emergency Management Agency.)”

Each of these candidates says he’s for small or smaller or limited government.

PLUS one exception. Just one single critical, indispensable exception.

Isn’t small government plus one exception just a razor’s width from small government?


Small government plus 1 exception adds up to Big Government.


Because the individuals who propose small government plus 1 exception are not all proposing the same exception.

They have different exceptions. With one, it might be agriculture. Another might back protectionism for textiles. A third may want more drug regulations. A fourth, education. A fifth, military funding. Others may advocate expanding welfare. Or Social Security. Health Care. And on and on and on.

Try a thought experiment. Imagine electing 435 “small government Plus 1” candidates to U.S. Congress. Each proclaims his love of small government plus his 1 exception.

We look at each Representative’s 1 exception and find we have 200 or 300 or even 435 different exceptions. And each single, critical, indispensable exception is the highest priority of the Representative who campaigned on it.

The only way one Congressman can get a vote for his 1 exception is to vote for the other Congressman’s 1 exception. Simple vote reciprocation.

So, to get a majority of votes, a minimum of 218 “small government Plus 1” U.S. Representatives vote for – small government Plus 218 exceptions.

But it doesn’t stop there. Pretend that, over a 6-year period, we elected 100 small government Plus 1 exception U.S. Senators. They would need a minimum of 51 “small government Plus 1” Senators to vote for the House Bill. And that means up to 51 new exceptions added to the 218 U.S. House exceptions.

Assuming that the President is agreeable, this means they voted for small government Plus 269 exceptions.

Small government Plus 269 exceptions adds up to Big Government.

Even if they sincerely limited themselves to one exception each, they produce Big Government.

Imagine what happens if each person advocates small government Plus 2 or 3 exceptions.

But it’s even worse than this. Because you’ll discover that politicians who claim to campaign for small or smaller or limited government Plus 1 exception almost always put the lion’s share of their time and energy promoting and lobbying for their 1 exception – and almost none into making government small.

The 1 exception is always their first priority. Small government is their last priority.

This is true of federal, state, and local politics. The number of office-holders varies, but the vote-trading continues.

Small government Plus 1 Exception adds up to Big Government.

There’s only way to get legislators who will make government small.

Elect candidates who promise and live the small government pledge:

“I vote small government. Every issue. Every time. No exceptions. No excuses.”

Take the Small Government Pledge.

Copyright 2005 by Michael Cloud