Big Government

It’s hard to separate big government from us, the patients, as we’re so intertwined in a democracy. To some extent, we relinquish our freedom and decision-making to representatives who govern at our pleasure, so we are the accomplices in our own demise. Of course, this is an oversimplification. As individuals, few of us wield tremendous power, and as the government grows, it disproportionally diminishes that power. Those most likely to encourage this are people accustomed to receiving government largess, feeding at the governmental trough (cesspool?), so to speak. This sense of entitlement has the same corrupting effect on the government as any special-interest lobby; officials dependent on votes for political survival are often only too happy to promise freebies that we as a society can ill afford. It’s worthwhile remembering that we’re really a democratic republic, not a democracy. I recently heard this analogy: A democracy is where three wolves and two sheep gather to decide what’s for dinner. You can deduce the rest.

Now, before I’m labeled a nihilist, let me say government has an important purpose, and there are many competent, caring citizens working for and within the morass of departments, commissions, agencies, bureaus, service districts, etc. The problem is we’ve become too comfortable with allowing government to provide, rather than taking responsibility for ourselves, leading, necessarily, to bigger and more intrusive government. And, alarmingly, it has a built-in positive feedback loop: the larger it gets the more things it thinks it has to do.

When was the last time you saw government voluntarily shrink? Not in my lifetime. Not in the history of our great nation. There are more of us now, you say. This is true. But the areas of our lives into which this growing monstrosity is insinuating itself are multiplying like a virus. Government becomes organic, looking to sustain and nurture itself, fueled by its one overarching desire—power. It’s abetted by a populace addicted to handouts. Since the government makes nothing on its own, by necessity it must redistribute other people’s money. To what extent it is appropriate to take from the wealthy and give to the less wealthy is a philosophical and ideological debate well beyond the scope of this brief treatise. The point is that one of the most controversial aspects of major reform in the health care system is a government-run component, ranging from a competing insurer to a single-payer system. If you still think this is the way to limit costs and provide for all, read on.


NEXT: Big Government, the Insurer


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One Response to “Big Government”

  1. Ira Heller Says:

    In this “democratic republic”, I would like to know who you think is not entitled to health care? Since “entitlement” has taken on a permanently disparaging tone in current political rhetoric, perhaps reshaping the form will allow for a more thoughtful answer.

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