Is Bigger (Government) Always Better?

by Phil Erwin

There is a truism in the world of business that “bigger” is always “better.” (It has to do with notions like “economies of scale” and “expanding markets.”)

Similarly, in politics there is also a tendency among some to assume that “bigger” implies “better”; that more government means “progress” in dealing with problems. Where you come down on that notion will determine how you feel about these important social-policy issues:

  • National debt – Is more better, or worse?
  • Borders – Should they be wide open, or actually enforced?
  • Education – Should parents be in control, or the government?
  • Abortion – Should the government pay when a woman can’t?
  • ObamaCare – Guaranteed healthcare, or a giant leap toward Socialism?

One simple question illustrates the fundamental divide between the two political camps: Is more government better, or is it worse?

Democrats habitually identify specific social problems to “solve,” and then champion government solutions to that problem – by spending taxes or increasing government control, and usually both.

Republicans, to the contrary, fall on the side of instituting limits to the reach of government, preferring “market-oriented” solutions wherever possible. As Reagan so succinctly encapsulated the Conservative view: “Gov’mint is not the solution to our problems – Gov’mint is the problem!”

There is a strong tendency among young people to start out as Democrats (their preferred appellation now is “Progressives”); whereas the longer folks live, the more likely they are to drift toward the Republican point of view. Young people see things in idealistic terms, while folks with gray at their temples have learned that idealism costs money. Churchill is said to have stated the conundrum this way: “If you’re not a Liberal at 20, you have no heart… If you’re not a Conservative at 40, you have no brain.”

Whenever we pull the metaphorical lever for a Republican or a Democrat, we are choosing between these two opposing intents – either purposefully limiting government’s reach into our lives, or throwing our hands up and begging the government to Please… Solve all our problems!

Consider how the nation’s political discourse about healthcare morphed, in fewer than ten years, from a public discussion about how to provide lower-income people with access to healthcare into what is now a politically defining question: Do you believe that healthcare is a Constitutional “right”?

But there is no mention of “healthcare” in the Constitution, so there cannot be a Constitutionally-guaranteed “right” to it. The Tenth Amendment provides that, since it’s not even mentioned, any “rights” to healthcare falls to each individual State to define, legislate and enforce.

Therefore, the very concept of Federally-guaranteed healthcare is fundamentally non-constitutional.

But constitutionality aside, did ObamaCare “work”? Did it do what it was supposed to do? It was incredibly expensive, a significant part of the ten trillion dollars added to our national debt – did it do anything worthwhile for the nation?

  • ObamaCare was supposed to provide healthcare (actually, only insurance) to 40 million people (the number quoted changed frequently). But only about 12 million signed up, and only 8 million made their first payment, despite the Federal subsidies. That number is now below 6 million – including “undocumented immigrants,” who were not supposed to be included.
  • It was named the “Affordable Care Act,” guaranteed to reduce average premiums by $2500. (Remember Nancy Pelosi shaking that bony finger at us all and squawking, “Affordable! Affordable! Affordable!”?) Instead, premiums skyrocketed – from 15% to over 100% annually, varying by State. Eight years of 15% increases amounts to more than a 300% increase. And people couldn’t afford to actually use their coverage because they couldn’t afford the skyrocketing deductibles.
  • So people simply dropped coverage, accepting the mandated penalty as more affordable than the actual cost of ObamaCare! And fewer participants meant insurance companies would have to charge higher and higher premiums.
  • Thus, the cost of Federal subsidies ballooned. That was widely predicted, which is why Congress put a 2-year limit on payment of those subsidies – which Obama ignored, paying the subsidies via Executive Order even though Congress had not appropriated the money. President Obama stole taxpayer funds to pay ObamaCare premium subsidies – a Robin-Hoodish move, perhaps; but nevertheless an illegal overreach of Presidential powers. People are mad at Trump for not continuing those payments – but Obama could have been impeached for it!

These facts clearly show that ObamaCare did not “work”; that it did not do what it was intended and advertised to do; what well-intentioned Democrats expected it to do. So you’d think they would be angry, or at least disillusioned, and ready to abandon a failed program. Instead, they double and triple down, betting political capital on blocking “repeal” of the law, insisting instead that it must be “repaired.”

You gotta hand it to the Dems. They sure stick together. If Republicans were that Party-loyal, they’d have had a “repeal” bill on Trump’s desk before he even sat down in January. But party loyalty is what you expect in Russia. In the U.S., we want our elected leaders to be loyal to the country, and faithful to the Truth.

So, returning to those original questions: Care to re-evaluate?

  • National debt – Recognize it measures whether we have more government, or more freedom. Obama’s Administration doubled our national debt. Are you twice as free?
  • Borders – Whoever we allow in increases our public liabilities and costs, whether or not they contribute to our national productivity and wealth.
  • Education – If the government controls it, the government gets to define “Truth.”
  • Abortion – Can you justify forcing your neighbor to pay for your daughter’s abortion?
  • ObamaCare – A giant leap toward Socialism. Was it worth it? What did we get for it?

The simple truth is that all changes championed by the Left involve increasing government, which increases our national debt and decreases our freedoms.

ObamaCare is the illustration of this rule: It demanded that everyone buy precisely the same coverage, including things that they could never use. Hence, all men were required to pay for pregnancy coverage, and all women for prostate coverage. Sensible? Or insane?

And it’s important to understand that government control inevitably leads toward total control – which we call: Totalitarianism. And now we’re talking: Fascism; Naziism; Communism.

Progressives differ only in that they want to “progress” toward more/bigger government and less freedom at a faster pace.

Is that really what you want for your country? Your children? Your world?

Seen with clear eyes, the simple fact is that all government solutions to social problems necessarily come at a social cost, which includes the loss of some freedom. It may seem, at least for a time, that the benefits are worth the cost. Democrats still insist that ObamaCare is “working;” that it provides more benefits than it costs.

But the reality is that a deal with Government is, always, a Faustian bargain.

And as all Faustian dramas demonstrate: The Devil will get his due.

Photo Credit: Dana Rene, file



Phil Erwin is an author, IT administrator and registered Independent living in Newbury Park. He would like to support some Democrat ideals, but he has a visceral hatred for Lies and Damn Lies (and is highly suspicious of Statistics.) That pretty much eliminates supporting most Democrats, and a bunch of Republicans to boot.

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William Hicks

The answer is SURE; as long as you don’t care how much it costs. And if you aren’t the one left with the bill, let’s party.