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Fatter, but not Smarter

  • November 29, -0001
Looking ahead to 2010, Adrian Wooldridge, writing in The Economist ("The World in 2010" special issue) observes that this is an excellent time for government to be hiring really smart people. After all, nobody else has any money to hire them, and governments in America and elsewhere seem willing to spend money to create government jobs, so why not hire the brightest people available to make government work smarter on less?

I'd like to ask Mr. Wooldridge, What planet are you visiting from? When governments get on a growth binge - like American government is at present - they're not interested in working smarter on less. They're interested in working more aggressively in order to accumulate more power over the private lives of citiziens.

Mr. Wooldridge seems to sense as much, because he doesn't think governments want to hire smart people. They just want to get bigger,and 2010 promises to be a banner year, "another year of disappointment: instead of getting smarter, governments will succumb to the old cycle of bloat followed by retrenchment." Well, let's hope not. Indeed, let's pray and work so that it may not be so.

What many Americans undestand, but few are willing to admit, is that modern governments exist primarily to serve the interests of elected officials, who ensure that their interests will be met by gratifying the whims and wishes of self-interested constituents. Bloated government is not the problem; selfishness is the problem, up and down the political machinery of the land, beginning with the electorate. We may be hearing high-minded language about returning to the Constitution of our Fathers and blah-blah-blah, but, at the end of the day, government will continue to grow as long as people continue to look to government to solve every problem, meet every need, and ensure their wellbeing against every contingency. Such dependency ensures growing government at the expense of individual liberty.

And since I don't see that situation changing in the next year - short of a nation-wide revival - I suspect that government will get fatter and not smarter during the year ahead. But I also suspect that very few of us will really mind.

T. M. Moore

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