Among the core problems that skeptics of big government have long highlighted is precisely the inability of even the best-intentioned government leaders to successfully supervise and keep honest the legions of bureaucrats employed to carry out all the tasks that “progressives” assign to government. So one cannot legitimately, when seeking to expand state power, assure us that such power will be exercised with sufficient attentiveness to avoid abuse, but then — when reality exposes those assurances as fanciful — plead innocent by noting that the degree of attentiveness necessary to prevent abuse is humanly impossible.Note, in the third paragraph, the implicit case for limiting the power of corporations to use the police power of the state to build storm shelters. Perhaps in that recognition is the beginning of wisdom among people who see Governance as a Force for Good, that the force remains when the idealists retire, and then the rent-seekers take over.
The fundamental question raised by the IRS scandal isn't whether Obama ordered, or even knew of, the apparent misuse of the taxing power to punish political opponents. Rather, the fundamental question asks about the wisdom of creating in the first place government agencies that can so easily abuse their power in order to play political favorites.
In the private sector, we rely upon two core features of markets to protect against such abuse. First, each person is free not to patronize firms that fail to deliver sufficient value. Second, firms prosper only by — and only so long as they continue — competing successfully for consumers' dollars. But because government agencies are funded with taxes — and because those agencies face no competition — greater reliance than is necessary in the private sector must be put on the integrity, altruism and diligence of elected officials to oversee government agencies in ways that ensure that those agencies don't abuse their awesome powers.
WHEN YOU HAVE ELIMINATED THE IMPOSSIBLE?
Perhaps the case for taking seriously the notion of enumerated and limited government powers is that somewhere, there exists an unmanageable expansion of powers.