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Regulation, Small Government & the Treatment of Government Employees

From: Lee
Sent on: Monday, May 31, 2010 11:26 PM
Weather permitting, this meeting will take place on Lee's Upper Eastside Rooftop, 32 stories high. Please be prepared for a 5 - 10 degree temperature feel difference from ground level depending on the strength of the wind. There are picnic tables and deck chairs on the roof, so please feel free to bring your own food and beverages. If we have thunderstorms and 10 or less people, we will have the meeting in Lee's apartment. If there are more people, we will go to a neighborhood bar. There is no deposit for this meeting.

Regulation and Small Government

The role, size and scope of government is a perennial debate in American politics. With 20-20 hindsight we can see that the 2008 market crash and the 2010 Gulf oil spill could have been prevented or the impact severely limited with proper regulation and oversight. In the aftermath of the oil spill, even Sarah Palin is calling for more oversight of the oil industry. Yet how is the oversight role of government to be reconciled with the idea of a small government?

As the spill reaches the Gulf states, the same governors who have long advocated for small government are turning to Washington to mobilize its resources. The irony is not lost on many commentators. E.g., see The Limits of Limited Government and No Principled Advocates of Small Government in an Oil Spill.

The economy is now dominated by massive companies in many industries including finance, healthcare and energy. Their interest, and their ability to effect politicians and campaigns was most likely not conceived of when the constitution was framed.

Given these challenges, what should the general size and scope of government be?

Reducing Government Cost and the Treatment of Public Sector Employees

On a related note, we will also discuss cuts in the public sector. Employees in the private sector are generally subject to layoffs and a loss of benefits if their company fails. While painful to the individual, this type of reallocation of labor helps make the economy more efficient. Yet the public sector generally does not have this kind of corrective measure. In addition, the benefits and job security of public sector jobs are rarely lost. With such high deficits, can governments afford this treatment of employees? Or should public sector employees have to accept a decline in compensation or benefits or even job loss when government economic viability falls so badly?

These articles are by no means the only commentary on our discussion topic. If you find others, please share them with the group.

Reservation Policy: There is no deposit for this meeting. Please RSVP Yes when you know for sure you are coming.

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