State government has grown too big

The federal government is bloated and broke. A potential spending frenzy is building in St. Paul. Yet very little government does is efficient or effective. Despite the poor track record, we are constantly told that the solution is not less government but more. Why?

A group of Republicans in the Minnesota House of Representatives is at least willing to ask the question. We appreciate their contribution to what we hope is a wider debate. They note that state spending has increased from $10.6 billion in 1991 to $41 billion this year. But as state Rep. Jeremy Munson, R-Lake Crystal, rightly points out: “State government is not four times as good as it was.”

The group worries that spending will grow even further, to something on the order of $50 billion. If this occurs, the annual cost of state government will exceed $20,000 per every individual tax filer in the state.

The potential effects are devastating. Bloated, out-of-control government leads to economic stagnation and decline. People’s businesses, jobs, homes and futures are on the line. What advocates of government intervention should want is a thriving economy that can feed state coffers, so they can pay for their government schemes. But they always overreach, with an apparently limitless desire to expand government’s reach. This is just plain wrong.

“The government wants more,” says Rep. Cal Bahr, R-East Bethel. “But the people only want a break. I believe the people will always make better decisions affecting their lives than any government ever will. We should stop stealing the fruits of their labor and let prosperity reign.”