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The Difference Between Them and Us Thatcher's Victory: Then and Now

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What Price Limited Government?

by Christopher Chantrill
May 02, 2009 at 2:52 pm

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IF YOU ATTENDED a Tea Party recently you were sure to have heard speakers talk about “limited government” and “liberty.” But what does it mean? When does government cease to be limited?

We could look at the numbers. If you go to usgovernmentspending.com and its new home page, you could take a look at one of the pie charts that helpfully show the division of the economy between private and public sector. Right now, in 2009, we are looking at 45 percent of the economy run by the government, as the chart shows.

It’s a daunting number, but still, we still have our liberties, or, as our liberal friends say, our rights. But if you select the year 1909 in the convenient usgovernmentspending.com dropdown control you get this:

That is a horse of a different color. Imagine that! A government sector so small that you can’t even squeeze the label into the pie chart! The number, for those of you without fighter-pilot eyes, is 7.8 percent. To us, living in the era of big government and CNN reporterettes shilling for the liberals, it seems incomprehensible. How could America survive on such a small public sector?

No doubt the Americans of 1909 would ask a different question. How can America possibly thrive when it has to support such a large government sector?

The massive increases in government sector planned by the Obama administration are all part of a grand strategy, writes Charles Krauthammer this week.

In the service of his ultimate mission — the leveling of social inequalities — President Obama offers a tripartite social democratic agenda: nationalized health care, federalized education (ultimately guaranteed through college) and a cash-cow carbon tax (or its equivalent) to subsidize the other two.

It’s tempting to think of the Obamunists as fiendishly clever, executing on a grand plan to take over the world. But I don’t believe that politicians and their advisors think that way. The Obama agenda simply aggregates the demands of the various powerful interests in the Democratic Party.

Nationalized health care? Most Democrats simply believe in “health care” as a right; it’s one of the articles of the liberal faith.

Federalized education? Merely Democratic interests at work. The college professors want more money for colleges; the teachers want more money for schools; and the feminists want their pre-school children off their hands.

Carbon taxes? Every liberal believes that we are destroying the planet and that you and I must live simply so that others may simply live.

The problem is that each of these efforts reduce Americans more and more to the status of subjects. When the government runs health care the government will decide what health care you will get. The Obamanoids understand this, according to Krauthammer:

Why do you think the stimulus package pours $1.1 billion into medical "comparative effectiveness research"? It is the perfect setup for rationing. Once you establish what is "best practice" for expensive operations, medical tests and aggressive therapies, you’ve laid the premise for funding some and denying others.

And certainly the most obvious “best practice” is to deny funding for expensive procedures for the elderly who are going to die anyway. If there’s a grand strategy it is right there.

Grand strategy or not, the liberal giant will lumber along, burping up bossy new ideas to spend our money and control us, until we decide to stop it.

It can be done. You can see them doing it in Walter Isaacson’s Benjamin Franklin: An American Life.

Benjamin Franklin spent almost 20 years in Britain during the 1750s and 1760s trying to tell the Brits that Americans were getting more and more annoyed at their subject status. And the Brits, Lord This and Lord That, got angrier and angrier at the presumption of the colonials. Nobody in Britland had the least idea that the bloody colonials would rise up and rebel.

What Americans wanted in those days was the right to govern themselves. They couldn’t, because the bossy Brits knew better and wouldn’t let them.

Today we’re oppressed by bossy liberals who also deny us the right to govern ourselves and who have plans to boss us even more.

There is a simple answer to the bossiness of Brits and the bossiness of liberals. Limited Government. Here’s how it might look, one day, on usgovernmentspending.com:

That 25 percent in 2020 is not just hot air. When asked, Americans tell pollsters that their taxes shouldn’t exceed 25 percent of income.

Do you think that we have the cojones to insist upon it?

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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presented by Christopher Chantrill

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