The Founding Fathers recognized that for the country to prosper, the federal government had to be limited in its size and scope. They understood that an unrestrained central government could not be trusted to exercise its powers properly and judiciously. That is why the Constitution provided the federal government with a modest array of enumerated powers and left most government responsibilities to the states. Unfortunately, those constitutional safeguards have eroded to the point that the federal government is currently financing talking urinal cakes while it runs up annual budget deficits in excess of $1 trillion.
In order to rein in wasteful spending — and get our nation’s finances back in order — the country needs to return to its limited government roots. A good first step would be to revive federalism by allowing state and local government to reassume responsibility for parochial concerns such as economic development. But in order for that to happen, Americans need to understand that government waste isn’t the problem — it’s the oversized federal government that promises what it cannot, and should not, deliver.
Tad DeHaven is a budget analyst at the Cato Institute and co-editor of www.downsizinggovernment.org.