Last updated 11-15-07.
Ideally, the government's role is to balance the needs of the nation as a group of citizens with the needs of it's citizens individually. For example, paying for complete total health care for all citizens, and without resorting to rationing health care, would be a considerable burden on the taxpayers. My proposal is that the government guarantee loans to citizens, if needed, to pay for basic health care.
It's human nature to be more motivated when you can act in accord with your interests. The higher the taxes are, the less motivated one is. (If already high taxes are lowered, the more citizens will be motivated to take entrepreneurial risks, generate more jobs, and increased competition for workers increases salaries with the result that tax revenues can actually increase.)
If the citizens of a country prosper, the nation prospers. In turn this provides more opportunity for the citizens to prosper. ("America is the land of opportunity.")
While capitalism can be somewhat chaotic and disorganized, it allows the better approaches and ideas to emerge.
In contrast, a communist government leadership can be very organized in going the wrong way. Time is then lost before attempting to go on a better path.
As government grows in size, it inevitably takes on some of the characteristics of a communist government leadership, i.e. a large bureaucracy, with the attendant inefficiency. (The characteristics that enable one to rise in a bureaucracy are usually somewhat inconsistent with wise governing.)
When it comes to regulations, one size does not fit all. A regulation that is more trouble than it is worth tends to demotivate affected citizens.
Seems that some liberals have realized that for every increment in the cost of living, they make some more people needy and some more people worried about becoming needy. The needy and the worried are more likely to vote for liberal politicians that promise to help. Taxes, unfunded mandates, and burdensome regulations drive up the cost of living, making more people needy and/or worried.
Conservatives oppose the preceding, but not very effectively. They are for a smaller government and lower taxes.
Simply eliminating most of the government waste and eliminating the cost of ineffective regulations would result in a significantly lower cost of living. In turn this would result in fewer needy people and fewer worried people, and hence fewer votes for liberal politicians that promise to help. In addition, the benefits to society would be considerable.
To avoid worthwhile changes, liberals would likely say that the "sky will fall". There is a way around that. Enclaves with their own local government, laws and regulations would provide places where new ideas and approaches could be tried without significant risk to the rest of the nation. And then once shown to work, can be adopted nationwide.
The more government grows, the more taxes it needs to collect. As a result, it's citizens become less motivated.
The smallest government consistent with performing the necessary functions of government will need to collect the fewest taxes. The consequence is that the economy grows at the maximum reasonable rate, eventually providing the maximum opportunity for your grandchildren.
Life is a test. If a government needlessly makes life more difficult, there will be more failed lives and many more lives with more struggle than necessary.
At the beginning of our country, only a small government was needed, or could be afforded. Over the years government grew, somewhat like possessions accumulate after living in the same house for fifty years. People get used to change when the change is slow.
As an aside, suppose that you are a very ambitious control freak. What do you do? You'd like to become a dictator. If your country elects politicians, become an elected leader, grow government until it becomes so bloated that it collapses because not enough taxes can be collected. Then declare martial law and restore order. Round up any opposition and establish yourself, firmly in control. The moral of the story is: limit the size and power of the federal government. And when government power seems appropriate, have it at the state level if reasonable. National defense is an obvious exception to this.