Swickard: When big government is never big enough

© 2014 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. - Government was small when our country was founded. In fact, it was between small and non-existent for most American citizens. Contrast that with our government today where for some Americans government is never big enough. It always needs to get bigger year by year.
      Much of the reach of our government today, that Americans take for granted, would be as foreign to our founding leaders as going to the Moon and returning safely. If our founding leaders were not already dead, a look today at our bloated government would kill them.
      In essence bigger government was the central fight when our current constitution was constructed. Some delegates to the Constitutional Convention wanted as little government as possible. However, the Articles of Confederation which was what they were trying to amend was clearly not enough federal government. Our founding leaders knew this.
      Some delegates saw things only a larger government could do. Of those Benjamin Franklin and George Washington especially saw the need of a stronger federal government for the defense of our country. There was the need for balance in our government and the new constitution had a balance of power which was designed to hold the power of government down.
      So our country was founded with a small federal government which inspired small state governments. But an interesting thing happened over the years. Our federal and state governments got bigger. New tasks were given to government and government reached further into the lives of Americans.
      Every year of our nation’s existence our government was said by some citizens to not be doing enough and was said by other citizens as getting too big. Citizens argued year by year about we must reign in big government or government must do even more.
      At some point it became part of the national dialog to vote money out of the pockets of other citizens and into our own pockets. The way to do that was with big government providing the muscle for such theft. Read full column