Goldberg on government bloat

His subject is Mitt Romney, but the following passage from Jonah Goldberg‘s latest column is worthy of consideration regardless of the context:

Where does bloat keep on a-bloating? I’ll give you one guess.

Contrary to liberal talking points, conservatives don’t oppose government per se. If we did, we wouldn’t glorify the Constitution as much as we do. After all, the one thing the Constitution does is create the federal government.

Conservatives and libertarians believe the federal government should only do those things the federal government should do. Other important things — and there are many — should be taken care of by, yes, state and local governments, but also by individuals, families, churches, charities and so on. In other words, government should get back to its core competencies and pass on the savings to the shareholders: the taxpayers.

If you don’t think government is more bloated than Dom DeLuise with an allergic shellfish reaction, you simply haven’t been paying attention. Yes, regulations hurt the private sector, but they also hamper the public sector, making it impossible for it to do what it should. The government that built the Pentagon in 16 months would probably need at least that long just to get a meeting with the EPA today.

Why did President Obama have to spend billions to discover that there’s no such thing as shovel-ready jobs? Not because there aren’t enough workers eager to pick up shovels and paychecks, but because there aren’t nearly enough bureaucrats willing to put down their clipboards.

A Government Accounting Office study last year found that more than 100 programs deal with surface transportation, 82 monitor teacher quality, 47 manage job-training programs, nearly two dozen offices or programs deal with homelessness, and some 15 agencies or offices handle food safety. Five outfits focus on getting the feds to use less gasoline. Maybe they should carpool?

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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