Friday, January 07, 2011

What the Government Does Is What Matters, Not Simply How Big It Is

David Brooks has a great column on "The Achievement Test" for judging government. His core point:

The size of government doesn’t tell you what you need to know; the social and moral content of government action does. The budgeteers and the technicians may not like it, but it’s the values inculcated by policies that matter most.

Right. Shrinking government is not a good in itself. Judgment is required.


Anonymous said...

Small AND efficient would be good.

Whit said...

The most important value is liberty. And the bigger the government, the less liberty because government is, by its very nature, coercive.

A virtue, such as charity, ceases to be a virtue when it is coerced in the form of government wealth redistribution.

Size is only a proxy for government's impact on liberty, but not a bad one. Further, the more efficient government can be in promoting other values, that is the more effective and less coercive it is, the better.