Is More Government The Answer?

April 2010
 

Overwhelming, unsustainable government growth will erode our entrepreneurial free market. Consider what we’re dealing with now: two wars, a prescription drug plan, two stimulus programs, unaffordable social programs and thousands of pork-barrel projects. Add it all up—it just doesn’t work.  

We have bailed out scores of banks, taken over a huge insurance company and are trying to run a sick automobile company. On top of that we recently added the trillion-dollar health care industry. How can we possibly pay for all this wild spending and expansion of government’s role in our lives? 

A Path to Nowhere
It is clear that we are headed down the European path of increasing the reach of government into more and more aspects of our lives. Look at Europe today: social programs for everyone, high unemployment, inability to assimilate immigrants, very low birth rates and declining population. Is this really the path we want to follow?

If more government seems to be the answer, then just look at the 30-year-old Department of Energy, which was created to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. It now costs $24 billion annually to operate; it employs 116,000 people; and we are about twice as dependent on oil imports as we were in the 1970’s.

The same thing has happened with the Department of Education, which was also created in the 1970’s to improve the quality of K-12 education. There is probably not a soul in America who would tell you public school education has improved in the last 30 years.

Less is More
The largest “big government” failure in history was communism, which tried to plan and direct every aspect of life. Communism did away with virtually all personal and economic freedom and then, after more than a half a century, simply collapsed. We learned that the bigger the government, the more inefficient it becomes. 

One of the most insidious effects of big government is that the American people will begin to assume that the government will take care of all of their needs, from cradle to grave. In essence, we will lose the entrepreneurial spirit, the “can-do” attitude that has always been a part of the fabric that makes America great. We will have a tendency to become lazy, believing that the government will always be there for us. The incentive to work harder and longer to improve ourselves will soon be history.

Personal freedom combined with free markets and the rule of law is the source of our prosperity. Our entrepreneurial spirit creates more new products and more new business ideas than the rest of the world combined. Free-market capitalism got us where we are today—the wealthiest and strongest nation on earth.

So, the answer to the question “Is More Government the Answer?” is a resounding no. More government has the natural effect of stifling growth.  Economic freedom is the path to economic wealth for all. Less government is the only realistic answer.

As one of our founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, put it so eloquently: “A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned—this is the sum of good government.”


Joe Scarlett, joe@joescarlett.com
Retired Chairman of Tractor Supply Company
Founder of the Scarlett Leadership Institute

Comments and Discussion:

Free Market

Posted Apr 24, 2010 at 12:19 PM by John
Well said!




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