Nearly three out of four Americans polled by Gallup recently believe “big government is the biggest threat to the country’s future.” “Big labor” and “big business” trail far behind.
Why are Americans so concerned? Look no further than the three “Little Rascals” — Barack Obama, Senate President Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who lead the big-government brigade.
The trio went to Washington with a pen to write new laws that expand big government, while other politicians go there with erasers to repeal and reduce government.
Big government has historically posed the greatest threat, topping big labor and big business in such polls. But America’s views on the size of big government’s threat have varied over time. Currently, a record high of 72 percent of Americans call big government the biggest threat.
In recent decades, when Democrats have dominated national politics, a higher percentage of Americans saw government as a threat than when Republicans dominated. But Republicans are more likely than Democrats to express concern about the power and size of government, especially when the president is a Democrat.
According to Gallup polls, Democrats were most concerned over big government in 2005, when George W. Bush was in office. Sixty-two percent of Democrats at the time said big government was the greatest threat. On the other hand, Republicans’ height of concern was in 2013, when a record high of 92 percent rated big government as the biggest threat.
Reasons most often listed in surveys for why Americans have such fear of their own government include:
- Big government issues imperatives. Compulsory big-government programs divert money from productive purposes to foster a culture of dependency and irresponsibility. On the other hand, capitalism promotes political competition, which increases consumer choices and offers working classes incentives to work harder for a better life. Free-market competition also creates greater value, new inventions and discoveries, and better technology.
- Big-government programs have traditionally squandered the wealth needed to improve citizens’ lives, worsening the living conditions of those they intend to help. Big government does not enable people to become self-supporting. It refuses to reward exceptional efforts or encourage big risks, the incubators for wealth creation.
- Big-government programs are wasteful and expensive, requiring more taxes and bigger budgets year after year. Thrift and economy are foreign concepts in the federal government.
- Big-government rulers fulfill their ambitions by financially rewarding the groups and classes that support them, at the expense of other classes that do not. But redistribution of wealth doesn’t create more wealth or more jobs, especially after government takes its cut off the top. And when big government fails, it raises taxes and increases controls, which reduce wealth even further. A downward spiral begins, because when more controls don’t work, big government redoubles its efforts.
- Big government creates unintended consequences because its programs fail to solve the problems they were designed to alleviate. Usually, they don’t produce desirable results or benefits. Often, they make things worse. They create new problems, such as when Medicare and Medicaid jacked up health care costs for all participants. And then there’s Obamacare. Simply stated, big government’s social programs don’t work.
Big government serves liberals well, a toadying servant to such masters as the three Rascals, with their thin veneer of statesmanship disguising their faithful devotion to Big Brother. They may win the day, but not the ethical high ground. And their victory will be a diminished America.
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