In this country we have tried, historically, to strike a balance in the size of our government – though the general trend, since 1776, has undeniably been toward bigness. The country we have today is not the one our founders left us, nor could it be, given the growth and changes we have seen in the last two hundred-plus years. Nor is it likely we could ever go back to that small scale, agrarian society with its many inequities and inequalities – or that most of us would really want to.

The question, though, is how far in the other direction, leading toward bigger and more intrusive government, should we allow ourselves to go?

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The election last year, which placed the nation entirely in the hands of those who desire bigger government, reflected a sense among voters that capitalism and the restrained government that favors it have been indelibly tarnished. It’s not just that Obama is manifestly a man of the left – which he is – but that voters gave him the kind of majorities in Congress most presidents can only dream of.

But if voters are now having a “morning after” moment as they watch the Obama administration and its Democratic allies in Congress pull out the stops on our national debt – if Americans are now finally waking up to the implications for our nation of an economy larded with ever-swelling bureaucratic burdens and costs that outrun, by leaps and bounds, any reasonable expectation of paying for them – then it’s not too soon to start thinking about the next election cycle.

Unfortunately, it’s not inconceivable that it could already be too late.

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Stuart W. Mirsky, a former New York City official and longtime Republican activist, is the author of several books, including a historical novel about Vikings and Indians in eleventh-century North America (“The King of Vinland's Saga”); a Holocaust memoir about a young Jewish girl trapped in eastern Poland at the height of World War II (“A Raft on the River”), and a work of contemporary moral philosophy (“Choice and Action”) exploring the linguistic and logical underpinnings of our ethical beliefs.