Tuesday, July 12, 2011

On The Size of "Government"

This begins a series on the notion of "the size of government" we hear about so often.

The title of this post points to an idea which the right wing of U.S. political ideology, currently Republican ideologues, tend to use ad nauseum.

I will show that their improper use of the phrase ends up being an attack on the U.S. Constitution as well as an attack on American Tradition, and I will show exactly where their failure lies.

To begin with, their overall problem is caused by a mythical understanding of U.S. History, U.S. Government, and the U.S. Constitution.

Further, their problem engenders a misguided, useless ideology which does not work well in our American system of government for a variety of well known reasons.

As it turns out, they are also infecting Democrats and Independents with their misguided, useless ideology, because naiveté and the fear not to be politically correct is more widespread than meets the eye.

A formula for the principle of the proper size of government is not that difficult to construct.

Take as an example: Ġ = (ρ * ή) / ų, where Ġ is the appropriate size of government, ρ is the population of the nation, ή is the collective need of an individual citizen, and ų is the degree of utility government plays as determined by the nature and philosophy of the U.S. Constitution applied to "conditions on the ground".

It is at once clear in this formula that the size of government is related to the size of the nation, in terms of population, so as the population grows the government must do likewise in order to maintain the proper size.

Both ή and ų in the formula are determined by the nature and philosophy of U.S. Government, a nature and philosophy that is defined by the preamble:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
(Preamble). The Preamble, then, defines six functionalities that we need to consider in order to materialize both ή and ų into the formula above, which said six functionalities are:
1) form a more perfect Union
2) establish Justice
3) insure domestic Tranquility
4) provide for the common defence
5) promote the general Welfare
6) secure the Blessings of Liberty
a) to ourselves
b) to our Posterity
(ibid). Further, three branches of government, Legislative (Congress), Administrative (President), and Judicial (Courts) were formed (Articles I, II, and III), each with separate powers and purpose, as the framework and structure to be used in order to bring about the six functionalities listed in the preamble ( ή and ų in the formula).

The military is not part of the structure of the U.S. Government, instead, it is subservient to the administrative, legislative, and judicial branches, in the sense that each branch exercises some aspect of authority over the military, making the military subservient to the government as the common defense is made manifest.

Under that framework and structure, the Congress funds the military and everything else as needed (Article I, Section 8), then when called into duty by a Congressional declaration of war, the President becomes the commander in chief of the military (Article II, Section 2).

Thus, in our constitutional form of government, the military is part of the government in terms of budget (how much money the military is alloted), but not in terms of any authority to govern the citizenry outside the military.

This subject matter will be detailed more in the next post.


  1. The neoCons want to cut the EPA and any regulatory agency designed to curtail pollution, including green house gases.

    They call this making government small, when actually it is committing ecocide according to the vast majority of scientists.

  2. Except when an oil spill happens and the EPA allows BP to not pay for it, then it is simply known as a failed system. When we can sue freely and the government does not buddy up with corporations we will be making progress.

    When the education system gives people huge amount of debt and no jobs, they cannot declare bankruptcy and it compounds the cost of education forming a bubble akin to the housing bubble.

    All government trying to do good ends up being twisted and corrupted. This is inevitable.