If you think my title is a no-duh commentary, well, you're definitely not a liberal. Even my smart liberal friends only tangentially acknowledge that government bloat is a problem before pressing forward with some one or another Big Government solution to every current problem.
Governor Mitt Romney proposed putting the federal government on a diet. "I can't wait to get my hands on Washington," he was known to pronounce, and he was talking specifically about those mythical balance books. The federal government keeps three different sets of books, and the bookkeeping is done by people who can't even seem to get their own taxes sorted out (*cough, cough, Geithner*).
Had Romney been elected, the diet would have been painful, but not as much of a crash diet as the Left seemed to fear. Romney knew how to keep essential programs running, how to influence the culture of a company from wasteful to frugal, from irresponsible to accountable, from inefficient to well-oiled machine. That's all part of the culture of any group. A look at America's culture from a corporate-culture standpoint shows us that she's in big trouble.
The GSA is no stranger to government bloat:
But they don't mind, of course, because the General Services Administration employees benefited from the lack of oversight from the House Government and Oversight Committee, to the tune of $820 THOUSAND for one conference/retreat in Las Vegas. If you think this is an isolated case, I have a bridge to sell you in Alaska.
That seems to be the trick with Big Government. Grease the right wheels, and nobody reports the waste.
We have a culture of graft.
Romney was criticized for saying President Obama gifted his supporters prior to the election, in essence buying their votes. *gasp*
It's shocking! A sitting president using his power to ensure each special interest in his pocket remains in his pocket, right before an election? Unheard of! /sarc
President Obama issued an executive order halting any real legislative work on an immigration bill prior to the election, while he created and passed an extra-legislative temporary DREAM act of sorts. Hispanics who seek legitimate immigration reform should have been furious with President Obama for breaking a campaign promise to pass comprehensive immigration reform in his first term. But instead, they contributed to a narrow victory for him at the polls on November 6th. Why would they give him another chance? Even at the time, Romney criticized the temporary status President Obama had granted the children of illegal immigrants (two years of deferred judgment), saying it was an insult and not a replacement for a permanent solution. Apparently, nobody heard him.
Lesson: gifts work.
With a president who would bribe the electorate and a previously Democrat-controlled Congress who would pass Obamacare against the very loud will of the people, America has gotten used to an uber-powerful federal government who makes decisions for our own 'good.'
This is a huge blow to our societal culture. It breeds apathy, a hopeless and powerless feeling among the serfs, and a feeling of entitlement among the... entitled.
Government bloat creates a larger and larger 'noble class' of government workers who have better pay, benefits, and job security than their private sector counterparts. It is like post-baby weight that never goes away. Government bloat causes real human suffering when committees fail to communicate, letting real people in need fall through the cracks.
That's one that always frustrates me. A liberal opposes private charity because it doesn't serve everyone. Government, they say, is the only institution that can be trusted to, or is capable of, servicing everyone equally. To quote Vice President Biden, that's a bunch of "malarkey." When private charities are involved, passionate, personal attention is given to those being served. When government takes over charity, distant, apathetic, entitled bureaucrats let people fall through the cracks, even disdaining the people they serve. I've seen this personally as a former, very brief WIC subscriber back in 2006.
Government is neither benevolent nor competent. It is force.
Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.-George Washington
Is there any way we can reclaim our culture, to reform it into the rags-to-riches, upwardly mobile bastion of peace and freedom it once was? I think so. But it will take a lot of self-education about what's currently going on, and a lot of evangelizing about conservatism.
Spreading conservatism takes getting out of our comfort zones, but it is essential to reclaiming the United States of America we love and still believe in.
Essential reading: Culture Does Matter, an op-ed by Mitt Romney
Essential watching: The Determinators, a revealing documentary about Obamacare and its bloat:
Why are you conservative? - Join the movement of conservatives, young and old: