Is Bigger Better? Government And Constitution

Constitutional Convention

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Is Bigger Better?

 

Although the framers the United States constitution planned for the Federal Government to be small and limited, it has tended to grow constantly and extend it grasp for power. The United States Constitution states that the Federal Government should have only those powers given to it by the states, more accurately that the states shall retain all powers except what they delegate to the Federal Government. The founders envisioned limited power in the Federal Government whose main purpose is to defend the country in times of war, to maintain order and perform tasks that cannot be done by the states or the private sector. Power should be limited in order to maintain freedom and avoid tyranny.

In my opinion the Federal Government has for some time been infringing on the rights of the people by preempting powers that were never intended to belong to it. The name of the game is power. Politics is always linked to power. If the people do not guard their power it will be lost. I find it disturbing when politicians and others act as if the Federal Government is wasting our money on military things, whereas that is the legitimate business of Government. Mostly they want it for things the Federal Government has no legitimate business in.

In respect to war, what we should be concerned about, of coarse, is the legitimacy of any particular war and the authority for going to war. Politicians make reference to a “war of choice.” What is that? A war is either necessary and must be fought. If it is not necessary than it should not be fought. The decision to make that choice is the business of congress.

One of the dangers in government growing and intruding on more and more aspects of life it becomes less useful for the very thing it was created for. It can perform its basic functions less effectively for the same reasons that corporations become less effective when they grow too big. In many ways the government is like a corporation and subject to some tot the same problems:

·        Diminishing Returns: A dictionary definition is: benefits that beyond a certain point fail to increase in proportion to extended efforts. In other words. Beyond a certain point putting more effort into something results in less return for the effort, dollar or whatever.

·        Parkinson’s Law is a theory presented satirically by Cyril Northcote Parkinson in a 1955 book by the same name. He was a British historian and political analyst who pointed out that The British Admiralty was growing bigger while the number of ships and sailors was decreasing. His “law” is stated as “work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” In any organization a worker will find that he or she is overworked and feels the need for an assistant. He or she will need two assistants, however, because if there were only one assistant that person would soon know everything that the first worker knows and become a competitor.  Later, each of these workers will feel the need for their own assistants. As Parkinson notes. No additional productive work is accomplished, but they are all busier than ever. Note how today, in addition to the regular elected officials and advisors to the president he now has a number of Czars. These Czars, as far as I know have no accountability except to the president.

·        Peter Principle was put forth in a 1969 book “The Peter Principle” by Canadian author Dr. Laurence J. Peter. The principle states that in a hierarchy people tend to rise to “their level of incompetence.” He explains that people are usually promoted because they do well in the job they have. Eventually the reach a point where they are no longer effective, and thus go no higher.  According to this, in large organizations most people are in jobs that they are not really good at.     

·        The Dilbert Principle. Dilbert is a current cartoon feature. It satirizes the idea that incompetent people are promoted to the top.  This tends to be true in government sometimes because it is a way to get rid of employees that are hard to get rid of because of various reasons. Working in the government I have seen people get fired and then go to court and get their jobs back. Sometimes they were fired for bad reasons. Other times there were good justifications.

Limited Government

Is a big federal Government desirable?

  • Government should be limited according to the constitution.
  • I believe the Constitution is a living document
  • The constitution should be amended for any changes
  • I think elected officials should be allowed to make changes as they feel it is needed
See results without voting

Over the years the Federal Government has intruded on many aspects of our lives in which they have no business. What’s worse is that politicians and the Supreme Court have lost contact with the Constitution. Some of the reason is that politicians seek power. They some times seek power by buying off the people. Sometimes it is plain intrusion on the rights of the states and the people. The people are at fault for allowing it.

It is the responsibility of “we the people” to control the government and not let the government control us. If we continue on the current track we will be living under a tyrannical government. I think, “Smaller is better”

When politicians said that certain corporations were too big to fail, they had already failed. What business does the government have in bailing our private firms? The government has no money of its own. It seems to me to use our money for such a purpose without getting a vote of the people on it is misappropriation of funds. The corporations should be responsible for their own success or failure. What we had were firms that had met their level of incompetence and the bailout didn’t really change anything. It is only substituting government incompetence for private incompetence. Investors were cheated and robbed by the government and unions given unjust gains.

Thomas Jefferson said:

“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the Government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”

Aritole France, French Writer 1844-1924

“America, where thanks to congress, there are forty million laws to enforce the Ten Commandments.”

Woodrow Wilson

“Just what is it that America stands for? If she stands for one thing more than another it is the sovereignty of self governing people.”

Conclusions

I do not know what the ideal size of government or business or any other organization should be but I do believe there is a point where all organization become inefficient. Often time an organization becomes corrupted, be it business, government, religions. For any organization, I believe is to get back to basic principles and founding principles. In the case of our government we have gotten way to far away from the constitution. Businesses have gotten away from sound business and financial principles and churches seem to have drifted away from their principles.

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Comments 56 comments

The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

The largeness and power grabbing results in tyranny. I believe we are looking it dead in the eye right now.

The Frog


kd4rvb profile image

kd4rvb 5 years ago from Titusville, FL

I have to commend you for speaking your peace. The things our government are proposing for the people these days is beyond scary. What is scarier is we keep electing the same folks who keep proposing the same failures. If the government is truly of the people, by the people and for the people, then we have all failed as a nation for allowing it to come to such a state. I want my money back. Thanks for sharing a well thought out and documented opinion for this national debate!


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

kd - It is true that the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. That needs to "CHANGE." Now there's change I can believe in.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Frog

I have got a clearer view of things when I got cable and started watching fox news.However, it is really the liberals who converted me because,as Reagan said, they know so many things that are not true.I've gotten some of my harshest criticism from a friend of many years who is a liberal, very intelligent, and helpful when I need help but he seems to believe what the liberal publications tell him.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

kd

Thanks for commenting.I agree with your view.Truth is that we have been bribed with our own money.What kind of deal is that. When we should be cutting back on unneeded laws politicians act like it is their job to pass even more. The president thought it was a major accomplishment to pass a helth care bill that most people don't want.


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

da, love the new photo. But edit your title, sweetie- you left out a constitutional amendment called the letter "s"!

I think it is time to recognize that Washington is completely broken. They can't do their jobs- and I mean neither Party. I am one of those Americans who would consider it an accomplishment for them to work out a bi-partisan deal- ANY deal- to prove to the American public that they know how to manipulate the Art of the Possible for the Good of the Majority. Hugs.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for the correction. I fear that the good of the people has been rather forgotten.Some responsible money management is needed.I agree that Washington is broken and I don't know if all the kings men... can put it together again.Thanks for commenting.


BukowskiBabe profile image

BukowskiBabe 5 years ago from Somewhere in the middle of it all.

Thank you for being the voice of those who advocate for a smaller, more efficient government.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for commenting. The feeling has grown on me gradually that the founders wanted limited government and that it has been getting of hand through my entire life.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago

Dahoglund , This is the crux of the problems of our nation , I comment you for pointing everyone in the direction that needs to be , not only followed , but returning us to. Our for-fathers created the most efficient possible form of new government possible. The American people , once again, will have to return us to that! I will be re-reading this as we all should! Like looking at the pointing of the needle in a compass! Great job! .....Term Limits now!..:-]


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

When I saw the total lack of concern for what the people want with the passing of the health care bill, I became aware that the politicians have lost their way.They seem unaware that they are merely our representatives,not independent agents.The people on the other hand have lost touch with what the government is doing,myself included. I had a political science professor once who said that government has become so complex that he can't keep up with it,and itiwas his full time job. He said he did not know how the ordinary person could keep up with it.

Also there is an anti business tradition in this country and some have too much trust in government. I have come to the conclusion that big government has at least as many flaws as big government.

Thanks for commenting.


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

The things that the government are proposing these days is rather frightening. It seems as though the ones who can least afford it are being targeted for more loses. I hope things change direction.


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

da, I find the comment from your political science professor very revealing. I think our society on the whole has become so complex, it is difficult for us to keep up with any of it, including health care, the tax structure, what it means to raise the debt ceiling, or to cut spending. I had an accountant friend tell me there were, in fact, no true spending cuts proposed- that it was all smoke and mirrors. Politicians are wordsmiths.

It reminds me of all those contracts attached to cell phones and insurance and credit cards and even microwaves, that would take all day to read fully. Who has time? And even if I do have time, I need a dictionary to sort it all out.

I feel like a pawn, due to my lack of ability to discern the truth- not meaning I am stupid, but, well, if even a political science prof can't sort through the complexity, how is my untrained mind supposed to figure out the nuances? Thanks.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

Often less is more meaning that a business (or in this case our federal government) would be much more efficient if it did not have so many extra people on the payroll. It is too easy to slip in abuses when the scope of government has become bloated as it is today. We have truly gotten away from our founding father's inspiration and the direction we have been going is not for the betterment of the people.

You have hit on some excellent points in this hub. If this was a prayer meeting, I would be saying my Amens!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

KoffeKlatch Gals

There is a bit of smoke and mirrors involved.I believe thee are proposals for SS in the future to have a higher eligibility age, which I think is reasonable.However, scare tactics are used to make it look like rates will be lowered like now.In my experience there are always threats of government layoffs which never take place.However the administration has borrowed from our retirement funds recently. It has also cancelled our cost of living increase this year at a time when prices are skyrocketing.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Storyteller

What is more frightening is that it is some fifty years since I took Political Science.Those were the good old days before after before the trauma of the "60s.We thought life was simple back then.

I agree with your accountant. I have been converted to the view that government should get on the same accounting system as industry and maybe we could see through some of the smoke.

It doesn't help that the education system is not big on teaching us about government and how it works.I am afraid we have been selling out our best interests for most of my lifetime or longer. I do thin Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" describes where we are heading pretty well.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Peggy W

I regret that I didn't study more economics and business when I was younger.I might have come to some of these conclusions sooner.Despite what political writers say about government employees, I have found some of the bigget critics of government in the government.I don't know hoe many times in meetings and elsewhere fellow employes would say something o the effect that if this were some compny like John Deere we wouldn't have to put up with so much bull...in order to get something done.

Thanks for your comment.


CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

Excellent Hub...and I'm right there with you!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for the comment.Can we turn the tide?


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

I am not good enough in commenting political topic. But I always learn much from your hub, including this one. You open my eyes about what happen in America. Thank you very much. You got my vote again. Have a nice weekend, brother...

Prasetio


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

The roots of America's problems run deep in history.America is unusual in that the primary thing it is based on is its constitution. We don't have traditions going back several hundred years. We do not have a homogeneous population in terms of race or religion. As the English author G.K. Chesterton said, America is the only nation held together by a creed, by which he meant our constitution. Other nations are held together by common heritage.

Thanks for commenting.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago

Dahoglund , I always break a problem down to its simplest ingriedients, I, Compare them to me! Are my credit cards within a payable debt, is my morgage safe from losing any part of my income , is my car payment liveable? THAT, is what the feds do not do! Public budgets with no consequence for overspending! No problem .....raise the fees, taxes and rhetoric!...:-}


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I totally agree with you. I am not much on economics but it seems that most politicians know even less than me.Politicians seem to get into a lot of trouble for scandals in their personal lives, but do they ever get in trouble for hurting the economy.

Thanks for your observations.


Sophia Angelique 5 years ago

I think the essential factor for any 'government' for any nation, is the degree to which that government ensures that the people are able to carry out the common tasks done by all individuals for survival and well being. That might sound obvious, but is it surprising how many get caught up It is not the type of government that is the issue. It is the intention of the individuals in power that is the issue.

Catherine the Great of Russia was a benevolent despot. In other words, she was a sole ruler and nobody could contradict her. Her words were law. But she had the best interests of her people at heart and ruled well. I was reading about a country the other day that had been doing incredibly well these last thirty years and they had a 'benevolent despot' in power.

It doesn't really matter whether it's a big government or a small government. It matters whether it is an effective government, and whether the government genuinely carries out tasks that will benefit the people of that country.

While I understand the ethos behind the founding fathers, I also understand that any government can be abused by any individual, whether big or small. Making it small doesn't necessarily mean the country is going to thrive any better.

In recent years, the abuse of capitalism, by manipulating currencies, stock markets, etc., has been as much a result of individuals being able to do what they like (which they would be able to do even more if the government was very small) as it has been the fault of legislating agencies who thought it would be okay to deregulate.

Essentially, human nature stinks. There will always be people who will take advantage of any system, regardless of what it is. The problem is not the government. The problem is the people.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

The ideal government is a benevolent dictatorship.The problem is there is no way to make sure it will be benevolent. A democracy is messy and somewhat inefficient.As you say human nature iw corrupted.That is why the founders of the United States planned for a variety of checks and balances. By big government I mean the Federal government, which has managed to preempt powers from the states and the private sector. There is something very wrong when the Federal government sues a state for trying to do the job that the Federal government fails to do.I,for one, want the kind of government that our constitution calls for.


Sophia Angelique 5 years ago

@Daho. I totally agree with you in your last statement. You're absolutely right that the federal government had no right to sue the state for doing the job they were failing to do. I was outraged. I am now writing about effective citizenship... the best safeguard of them all!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Even in my youth very little was taught about civics add government. From what I gather is even less is taught now.Good citizenship is important but it does not seem to be in fashion in this day and age.

Thanks for commenting


Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

Hi Dahoglund! The least amount of government is best. Great hub. You hit a homerun. Bravo!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for commenting. I agree with you.What I see lately is like the old joke about"It would be a nice job if it were not for all the customers." The politicians seem downright put out when citizens show up at meeting and townhalls.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

That is because all many of them truly care about is their own re-election...not the best interests of the country. They don't want to really make hard decisions and turn away some future supporter. If people would go into politics as a temporary stint instead of hoping to make it a lifetime career...and do their best job possible and then go back to their normal way of making a living, I think the country would be in better shape. The career politicians all seem to become corrupted over time in little ways and then in big ways. Perhaps not all of them...but way too many!


RunAbstract profile image

RunAbstract 5 years ago from USA

Well said! I am so glad you wrote this! I am linking it in one of my own Hubs so that others may find it as well!

Voted up and across the board!, (Except funny).


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Peggy W

I agree. I also think that the size of everything creates an insular world in DC where they sort of forget that the rest of us exist. You express what was the case in the early years.

RunAbstract

Thank you fro the comment. And thanks for linking to my hub.


2patricias profile image

2patricias 5 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

Hello Dahoglund,

This is an interesting Hub that obviously has attracted many comments.

I'm not sure if I agree with all of your opinions, but I'm pleased that you have written about them.

I do agree that politicians (and not just those in the USA) seem to live in their own bubble, and forget what life is like for real people living on a pension, or working in a medium to low-paid job.

I think it is increasingly difficult to know what is true. Many news bulletins include opinion as if it is fact, others over-simplify and leave out important details.

Keep up the good hubs.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I really don't expect people to agree with everything I say as very few people agree on everything. I agree with with what your comment says. I also think citizens are to blame as well for voting for their own interests and ignoring the long run effects of what they vote for.I have noticed in the Associated Press which is probably the main news outlet in the US that news stories are often written subjectively. One can tell by the wording.

Thanks for adding to the discussion.


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Interesting read. In Australia we do have a government that impinges more and more on how we live. Ultimately a balance should be struck and it isn't always easy to work out where it rests.

There have been American economists who have said that the US government should have let failing banks fail. The theory here being that it was more important to try and save the people who were put into bad financial positions by the greed of bank managers. It was further theorized that the slake from the fallen banks would be taken up by smaller, smarter banks. Me? I can't really say whether the bank bail out was a good idea or not except to say it doesn't seem to of had the desired results.

As for government interference on the US stock market, there was a documentary last year about the crash of 1929 and how the government in the 1930s put into place measures to prevent the stock markets from overheating to that level. These measures were apparently removed in the 1980s. Maybe they should have been left in place.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Part of the problem with the banks failing was because of government policies that encouraged selling houses to people who could not afford them. The fault seems to lie with both government and the banks.But in the United States we should be going by the constitution which calls for no more government interference than necessary.

As far as the stock market, I think government has a tendency to contribute to overheating the market.That in turn leads to a bust.I am not familiar with the history you mention so I cannot address it, but I think our troubles relate to getting away from our constitution.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas

This is a good piece of writing, DA...on point and precise. You have highlighted exactly what is wrong today...government is too big and it extends too far into our lives. It's time to head the other way and hopefully we can put some people in office willing to do it. WB


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I guess what bothers me is the fixation in government is that we have to spend more money on programs.The problem is that spending more does not always make things better, only bigger.We spend more on education but it gets worse, not better.As long as politicians have that attitude things will only get worse. Thanks for commenting. Besides, should the feds be involved in education in the first place.


wba108@yahoo.com profile image

wba108@yahoo.com 5 years ago from upstate, NY

dahoglund--The government has grown into the proverbial monster, far beyond what was envisioned by the founders. It amazes me how similar some of the problems in Jeffersons time mirrors our own, his quote is a perfect disccription of government today. Thank you for sharing! WBA


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

It would not be so bad if the government were supplementing the efforts of individuals, churches and volunteer organizations, but I have come to the conclusion that the government is trying to monopolize the business of social services. Last I heard they got the catholic Charities out of the adoption business.


John Sarkis profile image

John Sarkis 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Hi dahoglund, this is great stuff. Thanks for posting. I wasn't aware of some of the things you talk about here.

Take care

John


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Hi John.Thanks for reading and commenting.


gjfalcone profile image

gjfalcone 4 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona

It seems to me when the bottomless credit card was en vogue there where hardly any discernable rumblings amongst the masses. Since the Financial collapse, the ground has been shaking. To be sure, it is a self-reflective commentary more than anything else.

Thanks for Sharing!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I am no expert on economics.I avoid credit cards except for convenience but do not carry a balance.If I could get my wife to do likewise we would be pretty well of.I never understood the living on credit but it might be a generational thing to some extent.Thanks for commenting.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 4 years ago

Hello Dahoglund , I know that the labor union labor costs , benefits and health care of gov. employees is whats eating our economy , Our states are the same. Smaller is better ! Great hub !.......:-}


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I guess government grows partly because official extend their power by having more to govern.Thanks for commenting.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 4 years ago

You know how , the term" Mushrooming the budget " just grows government at all levels.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

That's one way at least.


Lawrence Da-vid profile image

Lawrence Da-vid 4 years ago

Federal Government increased it's size and power due to a decrease in State or Commonwealth actions. Government had no choice but to assume "state" functions when "states" became delinquent or incapable of handling their own operations.. With accumulation of power, government, instead of a governing figure, became a dictatorial authority. State's and Commonwealth's citizens gave away their power through their legislators.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Hi Lawrence,I agree to the point that the states allowed the federal government to intrude on their purview. That, of course, means that we as citizens allowed it to happen.I would disagree that the Feds had no choice. Their may have been some justification in the civil rights and Eisenhower's intervention, but I don't think he meant it to go beyond enforcing the law.Also the bigger the Federal government gets, the harder it is for the citizens to know what it is doing. So many politicians don't even seem to care about "we the people."

This is a pretty complex issue and it has deep roots. Thanks for commenting.


Dennis AuBuchon profile image

Dennis AuBuchon 4 years ago

Great hub. I totally agree with you. You made some great points. Keep up the good work.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Hi Dennis, thank you for reading and commenting. I do think the bigger the government gets the less efficient it becomes.


ib radmasters profile image

ib radmasters 3 years ago from Southern California

Your hub and its ideology is still valid today, even more valid as the government has grown since you wrote this hub.

The federal power and growth of the Federal government has been helped by taking the Interstate Commerce Clause, about two lines and using it as the thin edge of the wedge.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 3 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

ib radmaster, I agree. When I first entered the adult world, interstate commerce was rather limited. Thanks for commenting.


handymanbill profile image

handymanbill 23 months ago from western pennsylvania

Your points are right on.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 23 months ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Handymanbill, Thanks for commenting. I think the situation is worse than when I originally wrote this.

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