Why the Founders Embraced Limited Government

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Apr 21, 2009 11:58 AM
A respected inspector general has found that the Obama bank-bailout program is likely to be unfair to taxpayers and to invite fraud.

Is anyone really surprised?  Actually, some Democrats are, most likely.  That's because some of them appear to believe that those in government (who want to "help") are nobler than those in private enterprise (who simply seek "profit").  For example, Mrs. Obama has urged young people, "Don't go into corporate America," while the President himself has supported government regulation of "excessive" executive compensation.

The problem, however, is that human nature is human nature -- whether it's in the government or private enterprise.  Greed is not limited to the private sector, as this story proves.  And this one.  Yep, and this one, too.  The list goes on.

Greed in the private sector is bad enough.  But what the Dems don't seem to understand is that it carries a particular stench when it comes from the people who are supposed to be representing us -- doing "the people's business," as it were.  What's more, private enterprise malfeasance can be exposed and remedied by proper government action, or, actually, even by the actions of individual investors.  It's a lot harder to clean out the Augean stables of government greed and corruption, not least because those in government hold power over the freedom of the rest of us.

That's what the Founding Fathers realized -- and they understood, for better or worse, the frailty of human nature (inside and outside of government).  That's why they created a limited government, and wrote a Constitution that included only specific, enumerated responsibilities for the federal government.  They had witnessed the dangers that can result -- not just to the public's freedom, but to the public purse -- from creating a class of government overlords who would slowly but surely seek ever more power over the lives of individual Americans.