Thursday, April 19, 2012

That Preamble

James L. Payne worries about the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution.  Specifically, he notes, "promote the general welfare" leaves the door wide open to government action in a wide variety of areas.  Couple this with a growing public sentiment that there are few alternatives to goverment action  and you get steady growth in the size and scope of the Federal government.

Last weekend's WSJ included "Tornado Recovery: How Joplin is Beating Tuscaloosa ... One city is letting business lead the revival, the other is imposing top-down rules and waiting for FEMA.  Guess which one is rebuilding faster." by David Beito and Daniel J. Smith.  (Note David Beito along with Alex Tabarrok were co-editors with me of The Voluntary City which covered many related themes.)

I agree with Payne that government action has become the default response in spite of strong evidence that the results are often unsatisfactory or worse.  Almost all Americans deal with the Postal Service, the IRS, TSA, their local DMV and many others.  Yet, many of these people think that the Tuscaloosa approach is the way to go.  This is why both political parties are statist with only moderate differences in the flavor of statism they offer. 

Lately candidate Obama seems to be following a left drift strategy.  Will candidate Romney see this as an opening?  I doubt it.