Conservatives want SMALL government, not NO government…[Reader Post]

By 45 Comments 1,266 views

Conservatives are constantly being accused of wanting no government. When we talk about wanting to eliminate things like the IRS, the Departments of Energy and Education or rein in rouge agencies like the EPA and the NLRB we are accused of wanting no government at all. That’s simply false. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a conservative speak about wanting to eliminate all government, or even the federal government.

Most conservatives understand that the absence of functional government brings chaos. In an environment where chaos reigns, at some point someone will step in and impose order. That person or group then becomes the de facto government. Perhaps the clearest example of this in recent history was the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in the mid 1990’s. Although pockets of resistance remained, by the late 90’s the Taliban were firmly in control of the country. Most Afghanis didn’t like the Taliban, but they appreciated the relative order they brought to the country.

Here in America our problem is not a lack of government, but the opposite, too much of it. The strings of regulation end up wrapped around the wheels of the American economy and ends up clogging what might otherwise be a well oiled machine. An unfettered economy would not be flawless, but it would be far more dynamic than the straitjacketed one we have today.

To put this in perspective, take the IRS tax code. According to the Heritage Foundation, it will cost America just more than $400 billion in 2011 to comply with the tax code, and that does not include the cost of the actual taxes themselves. Given that the federal government will take in approximately $2.2 trillion in taxes this year, that means Americans will spend an additional 20% of their tax bill just trying to figure out how to pay the bill in the first place!

How is that even possible? Well, the tax code is approximately 72,000 pages long and it’s broken down into 750 subchapters. Imagine if you are a widget manufacturer with 10,000 employees spread out over 20 states. How many employees would you need to have on staff to make sure that that company was complying with the regulations written on every one of those 72,000 pages? How much time (read: money) would your accounting and legal staffs have to spend to ensure that everything you did was within the IRS’s guidelines? How much time would management have to waste evaluating what product or service to provide or what energy provider to choose depending on what provides the best tax advantage? How about deciding how employee benefits should be allotted between taxable and non-taxable to maximize employee compensation?

As difficult as scenario is, at least large companies can pay for the necessary accounting and legal staffs. Imagine you are a struggling businessman with 5 employees who has to choose between spending money on another employee to help him compete in the marketplace or on someone to decipher the 72,000 pages of the IRS tax code. The fact that an employer (or homeowner or parents of a college student or someone approaching retirement…) has to base many of their financial decisions on what the IRS rules are is bad enough, but for the rules to be so numerous and incomprehensible that it restricts productivity borders on criminal. And to put a cherry on top of it, all of that effort is spent just to figure out how to give the money to the government so they can spend much of it on stuff you’d never pay for if you had the choice.

Lucky for Americans, the tax code is not the only sign of a government gone wild. There is also the Code of Federal Regulations (the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government). The Code covers 163,333 pages, in 226 books. Those are the regulations that cover everything from that ticket on your mattress to the kind of gas you can put in your car to how long an airline can delay a flight to what can be labeled diet in the supermarket to the endless pages of directions and warnings provided with medicine bottles. Unless you are living in Ted Kaczynski’s summer home, not a day goes by that you do not cross paths with hundreds or thousands of these regulations. Like microwaves, you may not see them, but they are there nonetheless, impacting everything from hiring (or not, as the case might be) or marketing or investment decisions for everyone from Fortune 500 companies to neighborhood entrepreneurs.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute estimates that federal regulations cost Americans $1.75 trillion each year. That includes everything from environmental regulations to cable rates to the number of hours employees can work to months of tax compliance research. Add to that the $2.2 trillion Uncle Sam collects in taxes and you have almost 25% of our GDP being directly driven by government. Given the suffocatingly large and restrictive presence of government in our lives, is it any wonder that our economy is moving along at a dying snail’s pace? At the end of the day conservatives don’t propose no government, just limited government. We’d like to free up the American people to transform this moribund economy into a juggernaut of creativity, productivity, jobs and prosperity. That can’t be done while they are being strangled by government rules and regulations…

The product of a military family, growing up in Naples, Italy and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and being stationed in Germany for two years while in the Army, Vince spent half of his first quarter century seeing the US from outside of its own borders. That perspective, along with a French wife and two decades as a struggling entrepreneur have only fueled an appreciation for freedom and the fundamental greatness of the gifts our forefathers left us.

45 Responses to “Conservatives want SMALL government, not NO government…[Reader Post]”

  1. 27

    Ivan

    @MataHarley:

    Well, considering that you’ve only been around since the early 60s, punk, I would guess that you still haven’t figured out that in the 26 sessions since you’ve been around, the GOP has held the majority in the Senate only 8 of those session, and one was an even split.

    1. Calling me a “punk” shows a lack of intelligence and debating skills.

    2. 8 sessions and what did we get from it? Bigger, more expansive government each and every time.

    3. I don’t count the sessions prior to 1981 as the Republicans didn’t hold either chamber of the congress. Of course, I can count Nixon and his “conservative approach” to government and Ford.

    Hey Mata, consume fecal matter and expire if you have nothing nice to say to me.

    Of course that is “okay” with you as you’re a shill for the RNC.

  2. 28

    Ivan

    And you know what else is funny about conservatives? The love Nixon.

    Nixon was a socialist rat-bastard who set back “conservatism” at least 10 years.

    Yet “conservatives” love the prick.

    You guys are bi-polar.

  3. 29

    MataHarley

    premium_subscriber

    Yo…. amoeba Ivan. The only one here that has mentioned Nixon is you. What makes you assume that “conservatives” love him? Your imagination is in overdrive. Lay off the downers.

  4. 31

    johngalt

    @Ivan:

    I certainly don’t need to be lectured by you, nor do I crave your “respect”. I do comment, however, on your lack of intellectual honesty regarding conservatives and Republicans, and especially what you assume to be true of myself. I know, for example, that the Republican establishment is not conservative as a whole. In general, they are a lite form of the Democratic party. However, there are conservatives within the party, despite your protestations to the contrary. That they happen not to have any power at all escapes you, and you continue berating conservatives and Republicans in the same breath.

    But, I asked, who are you going to support. You didn’t really answer in your response to me. It took someone else asking specifically, and then the only answer you had was to whine and bitch about the situation and call us all “effed”. And guess what? I agree that we are. But it isn’t due to conservative policies, of which there have been exactly none instituted in the area of cutting back government. No, it has been liberal ideas, from Republicans and Democrats both, that have continued the increase in size and influence of government on our everyday lives.

    But go ahead. Keep assuming conservatives are to blame. Not only are you wrong, but you continue to attack windmills believing them to be giants, Ivan Quixote.

  5. 32

    Ivan

    @johngalt:

    I know, for example, that the Republican establishment is not conservative as a whole.

    And, yet, time after time you give them your vote. Hmmmm…..a real puzzle there.

    In general, they are a lite form of the Democratic party.

    And, yet, time after time you continue to give them your vote.

    However, there are conservatives within the party, despite your protestations to the contrary.

    Sure there are **some** conservatives, but after 30+ years of Republicans controlling one chamber or the Presidency one has to ask-of course you don’t ever ask-are “conservatives” relevant to the policy of the party?

    Don’t you think after 30+ years of watching these clowns we can say that the “conservatives” are nothing more than votes for the GOP?

    That they happen not to have any power at all escapes you, and you continue berating conservatives and Republicans in the same breath.

    And you continue to give your allegiance to a party which betrays you time and time again.

    You’re like a slave on the GOP plantation. You’re free yet you fail to know it or act on it.

    But, I asked, who are you going to support.

    Who is there to support? Palin (Guffaw), Romney? Perry? You’re kidding, right?

    Both parties are corrupt and have a stranglehold on power. There is no way anyone who would reduce government could get into power.

    Now you name me who you’ll support. Go on. Watch what happens.

    call us all “effed”. And guess what? I agree that we are. But it isn’t due to conservative policies, of which there have been exactly none instituted in the area of cutting back government. No, it has been liberal ideas, from Republicans and Democrats both, that have continued the increase in size and influence of government on our everyday lives.

    So you admit you continue to support Republicans who screw us over. There you have it: You’re part of the problem.

    But go ahead. Keep assuming conservatives are to blame. Not only are you wrong, but you continue to attack windmills believing them to be giants, Ivan Quixote.

    Conservatives voted in this congress: A congress which has raped us. YOU BROKE IT, YOU OWN IT.

  6. 33

    Ivan

    @MataHarley: @MataHarley:

    Yo…. amoeba Ivan. The only one here that has mentioned Nixon is you. What makes you assume that “conservatives” love him? Your imagination is in overdrive. Lay off the downers.

    There you go again with the name calling. Every post, almost, has an insult. Yet you claim to have some incredible debating skills? Hey Mata, the last act of the desperate mind is the personal insult.

    The fact you keep insulting me means I must really be hitting home with my comments.

    YES!!!! Consume fecal matter and expire, l***a.

  7. 34

    Ivan

    @johngalt:

    But go ahead. Keep assuming conservatives are to blame.

    So, John, when “conservatives” ran the government from 2003 to 2007 and the government spending skyrocketed and the Sub-prime blew up, who was too blame???

    Typical “conservative”: the failure to accept responsibility for one’s actions. Just like a liberal.

  8. 35

    Nan G

    Hey, Ivan.
    When you come down from whatever it was that hit you yesterday, contemplate this:
    How many, many groups has Obama thrown under his bus?…..and yet they are STILL constituencies of his.
    He can count on them.
    Some of them will be 96% for Obama.
    Others a firm 80%.
    They WILL vote for him in 2012.
    I don’t want ”the Devil I know,” as Obama is.
    I would rather take a chance on a lesser evil than sit home and watch him win.

  9. 37

    Ivan

    @Aye:

    If any of you ever wonder what happened to the kid who ate paste in kindergarten…just read Ivan’s posts.

    Wow, the man with no honor, Aye, has risen to spew his venom.

  10. 40

    MataHarley

    premium_subscriber

    Life is too short to wait for something with the same odds as winning the lottery, Aye….

    “Honor” and “Ivan” are two words that constitute an oxymoron… emphasis on the *moron* part… as a phrase.

    Now we can add sexist pig. LOL Gawd, Ivan… so mid 20th century of you…. He’s clueless as to the balance of Congressional power prior to 2000 as well. duh…. It’s that senile and/or alzheimers bit, ya know. Life, death, taxes and debt began only with GWB, according to IVan.

  11. 41

    johngalt

    @Ivan:

    I said this;

    and especially what you assume to be true of myself.

    And you stated this;

    And, yet, time after time you give them your vote. Hmmmm…..a real puzzle there.

    ,and this;

    And, yet, time after time you continue to give them your vote.

    ,and this;

    And you continue to give your allegiance to a party which betrays you time and time again.

    You’re like a slave on the GOP plantation. You’re free yet you fail to know it or act on it.

    ,and this;

    So you admit you continue to support Republicans who screw us over. There you have it: You’re part of the problem.

    You continue to assume a conclusion about me that you assert to be the truth, without actually knowing anything about me. Continue on, though. You are showing exactly why everyone here considers you a dishonest, ignorant fool who one cannot hold a reasoned debate with.

  12. 42

    James Tarr

    @Mike: @Nan G:
    Just what exactly do you fear from gays? They live in America and pay taxes just like you do. Why not treat them as breathern as opposed to the “other”? That is the thing about Republicans. As often as they say they are for America, they are not. They just don’t accept ANY “outsiders” whether they are gay, latino, black or woman. Buddies. We are all in this together as a community. It does no one any good to discriminate.

  13. 43

    Nan G

    @James Tarr:
    How you got to your conclusion from what I wrote is beyond me!
    I look at people as individuals.
    I am very proud of the gay conservatives I know.
    I understand how difficult it is for them, as I stated above.
    It is liberals who desire to impose a mindset on ALL gays (or else they are ”self-hating gays) not me!
    Those same liberals want to impose a mindset on women (or else they are not liberated) too.
    Those same liberals want to impose a mindset on blacks (or else they are ”house-n*****s) too.
    Those same liberals want to impose a mindset on Native Americans (or else they are putting themselves back on the reservation) too.

    I don’t demand a mental straight-jacket on people.
    Liberals try to and are failing.

  14. 44

    Ellie Svensson

    I would call myself a liberal in the sense of classical liberalism as embodied by the thinkers of the Enlightenment. I agree on the basic premise that government itself is a necessary evil. There is, as far as I know, no complex society in the history of man which has ever existed without some form of governing body, nor body of law. In the absence of governance, people will always come together to form some sort of governance to ensure mutually agreeable concepts of life and property are protected. So yes, I believe government is a necessary evil, but just barely. I would personally prefer that the government were so small as to be virtually non-existent, putting me much farther into the minarchist camp than most conservatives are willing to venture ideologically.

    I wholeheartedly feel that our original founding documents, the oft maligned Articles of Confederation, were and are for the most part wholly adequate to the needs of the people and in many cases superior to the federalist Constitution that supplanted it. Each state essentially operated as it’s own sovereign nation with little interference, and was spared the suffering of the involvement of a heavy handed centralized authority which dictates it’s demands regardless of the cultural differences in each state.

    The only legitimate function of government is to establish a framework under which individuals are provided protection from aggression and coercion, retribution for crimes committed against them, and ensuring the binding force of legal contract. Government should protect individuals from the abrogation of their rights and no more. As such government should never breach the contract of non-aggression made with it’s citizens. All participation in the matters of the state should be strictly voluntary. If you do not wish to participate in matters of the state and it’s services you should be left to your own devices unless your activities interfere with the rights of another.

    This means putting an end to federal income tax, the federal reserve, the three letter agencies, superfluous executive departments, coerced collection of welfare, and social security. I would also support reducing the military to it’s original scope as a strictly all volunteer militia whose organization should be left in the hands of each individual state.

  15. 45

    Marcel File

    Big government can be scary but I feel that the alternative is big business which is even more scary in my opinion. At least we can still select government officials whereas there is nothing we can do about poor corporate leaders. And we saw what they are capable of during the recent economic meltdown. These folks claim to be capitalists yet they lavishly reward themselves for poor performance. If you doubt that, check out what their compensation were during 2001-2002 and compare that to the company’s earnings. CEOs were getting bonuses of up 100s of millions while their company stock price fell by as much as 70%! And we’re talking about publicly traded companies where they are required by law to seek profits. At times like this, “small government” likes to sit back and do nothing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *