Government is a business — a big business, employing more people than any other. It dominates by regulating, restricting, taxing and subsidizing.
Government is also “too big to fail,” which is why, increasingly, politicians and public employee union bosses have ascended to the top of the heap of a growing army of competing lesser groups, always asking — no, demanding — more money.
This growing sector depends not on the decisions of dispersed customers and donors and investors, but on decisions concentrated in Washington, and, to a lesser extent, the state capital . . . and city hall.
The federal boys splurge far over their revenues — by the trillions, beyond the Ionosphere — courtesy of foreign creditors and the printing press. Governments at the state and local level tend to be more restrained, existing nearly on the same level as the rest of society, in a sort of Stratosphere (if not Troposphere) of finance.
Indeed, they are constitutionally forced to balance budgets, can be limited in their power to tax, and are not allowed to print money. Often, they must even ask voters for permission to borrow.
Add on the initiative and referendum, and we can gain some control over governments closest to home.
Not so at the federal level, where often the only effective response to government corruption and excess is a sort of recycling program by late-night comedians.
This makes our laughter at national politicians a tad bittersweet. Or just bitter.
‘Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge and the Citizens in Charge Foundation, which sponsors both Common Sense and Paul’s weekly Townhall Column. The opinions expressed in Common Sense are Paul Jacob’s and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Citizens in Charge or the Citizens in Charge Foundation.’