Kurt Bouwhuis, Mackinac Center Intern
One would have to put forth much effort to find a year in history in which any government lessened in size. A significantly less amount of effort would have to be applied to find any government that increased in size in the same year.
There are several reasons for the steady growth of government – Among them is mans natural pursuit of power, concentrated benefits and dispersed costs, increases dependence on government, politicians tailoring their efforts to please the median voter, etc… One reason that is often overlooked is what I would like to call dynamic interventionism. Dynamic interventionism can be thought of as intervention in market “a” breeding interventions in markets “x,y, and z.”
A simple example from the United States today can help illustrate this point. Suppose I am a politician who advocates free immigration on principle. I may not decide, however, to vote for free immigration under the United States current political structure because immigrants tend to use government benefits and drain taxpayer money. The same benefits that alter my voting pattern on immigration may also make it more difficult to empirically speak of the merits of private charity (as it is being crowded out by government charity).
In short, the more government grows, the more justification there is for government to grow.