What do you mean "The Return of Big Government" [April 21]?
What do you think we've had during the Bush years if not record-breaking big spending—too much of it on the war in Iraq and billions more approved by a Republican-controlled Congress in the first six years? Rather than pouring billions into Iraq, doesn't it come down to discerning and deciding what the American people consider priorities, like healthcare, economy-boosting projects (better roads, new bridges, etc.), environmental improvement, and development of clean, renewable energy to relieve our ridiculous oil dependency?
You implied that "big spendingfor infrastructure . . ." is a function of a voracious appetite to spend by politicians who like the idea of "big government." You further imply that small government proponents (Republicans and independent conservatives, I guess), if maintained in power, could avoid the trillion-dollar infrastructure bill by force of will or some other magic. What? Bridges won't crumble across the interstate highway system? Airport runways and antiquated radar systems will magically last for several more generations so that none of us will have to pay the piper? Maybe Rep. Paul Ryan was right. Maybe before Americans wake up to the challenges of 2008 and beyond, they will "swing back our way pretty fast just because logic and reason will ultimately prevail." Yes, raising the per capita debt $10,000 in nine years is just a silly swing of the pendulum and nothing to worry about.
Your cover headline states: "Americans want Uncle Sam to solve their problems." You are absolutely correct. The American people have been brainwashed into believing that socialism is better than the free-enterprise system. Many feel that they are due benefits from the government and have found that representatives will tap the nation's treasury for their gain in the form of so-called entitlements. Through the Constitution, the founders gave us one basic entitlement, and that is freedom. It has been said that democracies last only until the "voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury." Financial collapse and a totalitarian form of government follow it. We are approaching that time frame.
Why is it that every politician, from the president to county commissioner, promises programs and subsidization to get elected? If we keep bailing out everyone and everything for the mistakes that they have made, then what lessons will they ever learn? Politicians have duped Americans into believing that the government can fix their problems, and they will live better as a result. Politicians should say "No," the one word that is hard for them.
The problems we are facing are not the effects of a small government unable to deal with issues brought about by a Brave New World. What we have is a government that is failing at a number of tasks. Size is a nonissue. On the cusp of another president taking command, let us not forget that President Bush has had more powers bestowed upon him than any other public official in the last quarter century. The argument could even be made that this president is the most powerful we've ever had. Still, most Americans believe the country is on the wrong track. Big government is not the panacea people are hoping for. Neither is small government, necessarily. Instead, the American people have to focus on creating a responsible government that can actually do the job.
Perry Hall, Md.