The question I raise in the headline should cause any rational person to begin laughing out loud. Government by its nature is wasteful and inefficient. Every day's newspapers contain new stories about excessively paid bureaucrats, duplicate commissions, feather-bedding, needless regulation, waste, fraud and corruption in government. Yet to the nation's liberals, government cannot be cut without harming crucial services and there's nothing left to do but to raise taxes. The Sacramento Bee's Pia Lopez makes that point in her latest Head To Head column with Manhattan Institute's Ben Boychuk.
Wrote Lopez, in arguing for higher taxes on the "wealthy": "The American people have two options for financing their government: borrowing or taxes." But there are other options. As Boychuk noted, "I would suggest we have a third: Lower our expectations for what government can do, and rethink what government should do." Exactly. How about limiting government, slashing the out-sized pay and benefits for public employees and implementing other efficiency reforms? Ironically, yesterday LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa flew to Sacramento to call for ending some of Prop. 13's protections. We don't know what he will run for next, but expect leading Democrats to increase their calls for more taxes. We can't expect them to cut the government or touch the special privileges of their main constituency, the public employee unions. In their view, government is efficient and noble and we can solve all our problems by continually raising taxes on the wealthy.