Government Expansion

Friday, October 10th, 2008

Ilya Somin at The Volokh Conspiracy raises a perfectly legitimate point:

Nonetheless, I fear that the conjunction of an Obama victory, a strongly Democratic Congress, and a major economic crisis will produce a massive and difficult to reverse expansion of government

This is one of the great chopping points that divides sides on political theory and federalism. But it’s also fraught with ambiguity, which is perhaps a good thing. It could be argued, for example, that laws against pot smoking are a legitimate government intrusion on people’s lives, whereas the regulation of alcohol can be viewed as non-intrusive.

These are arguments that need to exist. Legitimacy is an important issue. Where people should disagree is on the definitions and the details. What constitutes big or good government? What trade offs should be agreed to? It’s difficult to say now, given recent events. At the moment, people may be skeptical of but also thankful for a rather large hand, even with temporary nationalization.

We need to keep cool heads.

On that note, I say Go Obama!


2 responses to “Government Expansion”

  1. Josh says:

    “What constitutes big or good government?”

    For the United States,

    1) good government is NOT a government that subverts the Constitution in the following–or ANY–manner (all formatting in quotes is mine):

    From the original bailout bill that failed to pass only after Speaker Pelosi’s speech blaming the Bush administration for the financial crisis…

    “Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, Section 2, Purposes: Provides authority to the Treasury Secretary to restore liquidity and stability to the US financial system and to ensure the economic well-being of Americans.”

    From the Preamble to the United States Constitution…

    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    (It is difficult to tell how much of the language of the original bill is in the signed law.);

    2) good government is keeping the power with the electorate and NOT delegating it to Secretaries and Judges.

  2. Josh says:

    NOTE:
    In the two sections of formatted text, the words “ensure” and “promote” (respectively) were not underlined as I had additionally formatted.