"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Peripheral Scandals and the Central Problem of Big Government

There are a score of scandals that have percolated around the periphery of the Obama Administration.   The two biggest, of course, are under the umbrella of Solyndra and the "pay-for-play" aspect of the administration funnelling "loans" and "grants" to green energy companies that just happened to have connections to large Obama donors; and Fast and Furious and the scandal of trying to run guns to Mexican drug cartels as a way of creating a propaganda opportunity to argue for more gun control, with the resulting death of at least one American agent and dozens, if not hundreds, of Mexicans.  

Now, two more scandals are getting a lot of press.   The first involves a million-dollar party the General Services Administration threw for some of its employees in Las Vegas.   The pure waste is shocking, particularly when liberals argue for more and more taxes to fund more and more government "programs."  

The second involves a sex scandal among Secret Service agents serving the President in Cartagena, Colombia in advance of his trip there this week.    Again, the image of men on the taxpayers' dime seeking prostitutes is shocking.

Should such scandals tar the President?   Can a President really be held responsible for the actions of men and women at the periphery of his government?

No and Yes.

No... the President is presiding over a federal government with several million employees, thousands of offices, thousands of functions.   He can't be expected to know about or be responsible for the conduct of all of them.   To imagine that he could be is ridiculous.

On the other hand, this particular President is openly the President of Big Government.   And the problem with Big Government is that it's.... well, big.  

When you have an absolute incapacity to monitor the behavior of your employees because of the sheer size of the organization, there is an argument to be made that the organization is simply too big.  

I think that's the lesson to be learned from these peripheral scandals.  

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