Until the 1900s our government was relatively small. Each branch had its role and there were checks and balances to ensure that no one would become a king with unlimited power. Starting with Teddy Roosevelt, the presidents began believing that a stronger executive branch was needed. Growth of executive power has continued through Wilson’s progressive thinking, Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and, today, with Obamacare.
Our government has grown from 7.5 percent of GDP in 1913 to 37.9 percent in 2015. Most of this growth has been through establishing executive government agencies and entitlement programs that continue to grow in size and power without checks and balances.
Government agencies are allowed to make their own rules (laws are the role of Congress), enforcing those rules (enforcement is the role of the executive) and adjudicating disagreements with their own hearings (adjudication is the role of the judicial branch). Entitlement programs are great for those participating in them. But someone has to pay for them. Where do we draw the line about what rights create entitlements?
Now we say that healthcare is a right. Is it really? If healthcare is a right, what about food, housing and entertainment?
To maintain a successful society, we need to decide what rights we are entitled to. Is the right to life, liberty and the pursuit to happiness is all inclusive? No, it means that man has a right to live, be free of oppression and pursue his happiness through his own hard efforts without infringing upon those of others.
If we can reign in unfettered agencies in our government and decide what rights we should support, we can probably continue to build a successful society. A society based upon each of us giving our government some powers, not our government giving them to us.