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Government - What’s it Good for, Anyway

Libertarians must be ecstatic, even if a bit envious that the Tea Party’s getting all the credit. Anti-tax groups are protesting loudly and calls for “limited” government, and even for cutting the federal government by half — ala Glenn Beck — are stirring the passions of frustrated Americans.

The slogans may have a lot of appeal... until we try to get our heads around question Number One: Hmmm, and where would we begin?

With the Department of Transportation?... And is that before or after it forces Toyota to stop selling cars that can suddenly go speeding off the road?

With the Environmental Protection Agency... when 40 percent of America’s rivers and lakes are still too polluted to swim and fish in?

Or the Food and Drug Administration... when 76 million of us get sick and 5,000 die every year from contaminated food, costing an estimated $152 billion?

Beyond the wildest naysayers, the longstanding debate about government isn’t, of course, about doing away with government entirely, but simply making it small enough to “drown it in the bathtub,” as Grover Norquist put it so colorfully in 2001. It is big government that’s the problem. That’s the Tea Partiers’ insistent message and a lot of people fe