We are locked in a seemingly permanent debate about the proper size and scope of government.
It was a centerpiece of the recent presidential campaign. It features heavily in the ongoing maneuvering over the “fiscal cliff” and the upcoming vote on raising the debt ceiling.
And it surfaces regularly in the speeches and comments of politicians and opinion leaders who either take the government to task for growing too large or argue that it needs to play an even more active role than it does now.
I don’t expect this argument to end anytime soon — after all, it’s been a feature of political life for as long as any of us can remember. But no matter how we view the role of government, there’s one thing most of us do agree on: whatever government does, it should do it well.
Recently, I read a compelling speech by a prominent corporate CEO who criticized the federal government for creating an environment of uncertainty and stifling the engines of market growth — and then went on to lay out plans for economic renewal that all involved the government: a revamped education policy, more investment in infrastructure and in basic research, changes to the tax code to reward innovation.