Friday, May 17, 2013

The Perils of Big Government

What do all of these government hijinks actually mean? 

Normally, I'm not one for caring too much about the "he said / she said" part of the political landscape that would engulf anything that is called a "scandal".  In the end, these things have very little effect on the American people at large, and have virtually no lasting impact. (Are you worse off today because Willy couldn't keep it in his pants? probably not.)     

However, the overarching theme of these "mishaps" are excellent examples of the untended consequences of large government bureaucracies.  First lets get the 'who's responsible' factor out of the way first because that's easy.  Our executive branch is setup to run the day to day operations of the federal government.  We vote for one man who is then in charge of appointing his department heads (Like Secretary of State, Attorney General, IRS Commissioner, etc...).  So, Mr. President, whether you have any clue what is going on, you are still the singular accountable body to the voters.  Lets have a look at this sterling leadership of YOUR administration and see what it means.

In Benghazi, I pretty much don't care about the part where better decisions could have potentially saved lives.  We may not have made a great choice, but those calls are probably murder to make in the heat of the moment and while the situation was tragic, it is very tough to Monday Morning Quarterback these things.  However, I do care that the administration clearly put out false information following the attacks for political gain.  It doesn't matter what department decided to lie, the fact is they did.  And if my government is more concerned with their own political life than the truth, how am I suppose to trust they are going to serve me in good faith?

On the AP, I will allow that there is probably a large amount of grey area in the national security v. free press debate.  However, the troubling portion of this is the complete abdication of responsibility of the President (and the Attorney General).  They just shrug and say "I didn't know about it."  So now I have a leader who is both willing to lie for political gain AND incapable or unwilling to control the bureaucracy he is in charge of running.

And finally on the IRS, I am almost speechless.  This targeting of conservative groups to delay their tax status went on for years unchecked, and officials asked for information from these groups that would make a fascist cringe. Dishonesty.  Check.  Political Bias.  Check.  Abdication of Leadership. Check.  From above, we already knew the administration was willing to be dishonest and certainly had set the tone that they would not effectively run a large bureaucracy.  This one has the added benefit of allowing low level bureaucrats to act in their own best interests, which can only happen in a large and unwieldy organization too big to have proper checks and balances.

In all honestly, I cannot blame Obama too much for his impossibly low bar of leadership.  Did anyone vote for this guy because they thought: "Wow, that professor / community organizer / one-term Senator is just oozing with executive leadership experience."  Of course not, they voted for him because they believed expansive government furthers their favorite causes.  So, I do not particularly want the focus to be on Obama's "What the (bleep) Just Happened" leadership style.  I would rather we pay attention to the larger point, which is that governments are going to have less corruption and less invasion of rights when they are smaller, and these recent troubles are excellent anecdotes of that reality. 

If you are one of the people who advocate large government or are on the fence about the size and scope of government, you should be re-evaluating your belief system today.  Just because a new law or agency sounds good in theory or has a catchy name does not mean it will fix the problem it was born to fix.  Good intentions are not the same as solutions, and we all have to live with, or worse be punished by, the unintended consequences.  Is it worth it?   

So now lets Bring on Obama-care.  Bet the government will run that like a Gulfstream or maybe like a flying bag of doo.  Sadly, Obama won't know how its going unless the New York Times writes an article on it.  If it is a huge failure, is it good enough that they meant well?