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June 7, 2010

Defending Big Government, and Our Response

Today, I have chosen the below video to respond to.  Recently, a study determined that personal incomes are rising, but the source of the wage increase seems to be coming from government, not the private economy.  The study’s numbers show how large and dependant we have become on government itself.
A University of Michigan economist, Donald Grimes put it best in this video, “we are reaching a tipping point where there is an increasing demand for social welfare spending and a shrinking ability for the private sector to pay for it.”
That did not stop one liberal (Christian Weller from the Center for American Progress) from defending the large size of government.  Here were some of his key points along with my responses.
Christian Weller: “It’s a question of how effective the government is at doing its job and clearly there is a need for the government to step in a number of roles as we have recently seen (with) the oil disaster.”
Response: Let’s examine the effectiveness of government in our lives.  One need not look far to see that government has failed in a number of roles.  Whether it was the inter-departmental feuding that helped 9/11, the inability of government to run the Post Office or Social Security effectively, and finally the failure of government regulations in the financial crisis of 2008.  This is not the institution I would rely on to take “additional roles.”  This is the institution I would focus on improvement in existing roles.
Christian Weller: “The levels of government over the next few years are expected to rise to levels we saw last under President Reagan.  (If) we could sustain the level of government then, we could certainly sustain it now.”
Response: The reason we had large government going into the Reagan presidency was because of the big government policies of Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Jimmy Carter.  There was nothing sustainable about double digit unemployment and double digit inflation when Reagan became President in 1981.  In fact, Reagan took steps to shrink the size of government.  These steps were continued through the Clinton administration where the economy saw a decade of prosperity.  If smaller government got us through the 1990s, how can we reverse that strategy now?
Christian Weller: It’s clearly sustainable where we are (deficit and government size), it’s not a question of the size of government…”
Response: That’s the type of thinking that got Greece, Spain, Italy, and the rest of the EU to where it is today.  That’s also the type of attitude that will get us into the same trouble down the road.  I don’t know about my readership, but I am uncomfortable about my elected officials possibly having the same attitude as this socialist.

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