With a resurgence of interest in socialism in America, it’s worth remembering that the solution to failing government programs isn’t a bigger government.
Have our government-run schools left millions of poor and minority students behind, despite massive increases in spending? Well, then, the answer must be to spend still more, while attacking private alternatives.
Have more than 100 federal anti-poverty programs and roughly $1 trillion in anti-poverty spending failed to enable the poor to flourish or become self-sufficient? Well, then, we must immediately spend more money on ever-more-complicated schemes.
Is Social Security racing toward insolvency? Then we must expand benefits and impose more restrictions on private retirement options. Have government jobs programs failed to create meaningful and productive work? We’ll just have the government guarantee everyone a job. Have government subsidies and regulations driven up the cost of everything from college to housing? I guess we’ll have to regulate and subsidize more. …
Americans used to be suspicious of populists peddling government solutions to every problem. Not too long ago, even Bill Clinton was declaring that “the era of big government is over” in response to the government’s disastrous track record. But this healthy skepticism has waned in recent years. It is as if the politics of today are immune to empirical results.
Samuel Johnson once facetiously described second marriages as “the triumph of hope over experience.” Given the record of government failure, calls for a bigger more intrusive government might be described as the triumph of hope over common sense.