Former President Ronald Reagan famously quipped that the nine most terrifying words in the English language are: “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”
For tens of millions of Americans, no truer statement has ever been uttered by a politician.
In the last 20 years alone, the federal government has foisted a failed No Child Left Behind policy on American students, expanded Medicare and hastened its insolvency, outlawed the Edison lightbulb, raised both food and fuel prices by mandating ethanol in our gasoline, rewarded reckless big businesses with “too big to fail” bailouts, crushed community banks through Dodd-Frank, created an unaccountable and unconstitutional consumer regulatory agency, moved millions of otherwise healthy Americans into an expanded Medicaid program, and forced massive cost-driving regulations on health insurance through the passage of Obamacare, canceling millions of previously-held policies overnight.
And that’s just scratching the surface.
Decades of bipartisan spending binges have the United States hurtling toward $30 trillion in national debt. In the last two decades, the U.S. national debt has more than quadrupled.
It’s not just that our current trajectory is fiscally unsustainable, it’s that it is fundamentally responsible for much of the deep distrust Americans have in their elected officials. With each big government boondoggle and failure, millions of Americans are negatively impacted. In many instances, one group of Americans reap the benefits at the expense of another.
The consent of the governed has been increasingly weakened over time. Fidelity to both the spirit of the Declaration and the wise limitations of the Constitution have strained to their breaking point.
The result is increasingly fragmented communities, corrupt institutions, rampant cynicism toward fellow citizens and elected officials, and a civil society that no longer shares an understanding of what it means to be an American.
The Center for Renewing America is committed to opposing big government for its intrusiveness, cost, and tendency to crowd out a vibrant civil society on which healthy communities depend.