Do you remember this summer's debt debate debacle? It ended with the supercommittee, which ended in failure, which resulted in no cuts in government spending. Do you remember the summer before that, when tea party protesters came out in full force against Obamacare and members of Congress who were contemplating supporting it? Do you remember when the tea party movement made the Republicans the majority in the House and replaced a few prominent liberal Republicans in the Senate with small-government conservatives?
Where was all the raucous protest when those who were elected to Congress in 2010 on the promise of reining in spending so spectacularly and clearly failed to do it?
It seems everybody wants something for nothing and everybody wants something from the government. Frankly, this is why Ron Paul has never been the flavor of the week. He is the only serious presidential candidate who is actually advocating real austerity, real spending cuts, a real shrinking of government.
Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney don't want to shrink government. They love government. They just want to manage it better. The problem with that approach is that government by its very design is always mismanaged. The centralization of decision-making amplifies the effects of poor decisions while disincentivizing prudent ones.
Unlike an individual or a well-run corporation, government is not motivated by how efficient it can be, but rather by how lucrative it can be for those associated with it, and how those who run the government can stay in power. Someone who was philosophically opposed to government domination of the housing market wouldn't perpetuate it by taking one red penny of taxpayer money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, like the former Speaker did, whether he calls himself a historian or a lobbyist. Someone philosophically opposed to government domination of the health care market would never offer up government as the solution to the problem of the uninsured, like the former governor of Massachusetts did, since the problem of the uninsured was created by government's involvement in the health care market in the first place.
The federal government does not need an efficient manager. That's a pipe dream based on the noble but flawed premise that government can be made to operate as a business. It cannot. Business is subject to the forces of free choice, supply and demand, and competition. Can you imagine government subjecting itself to the forces of competition? Can you imagine government permitting us to ignore it?
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