Blake Snow

content advisor, recognized journalist, bodacious writer-for-hire

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Q&A: History, big government, and democracy

Barack-Obama-and-George-BushI often use vark.com to impatiently satisfy the many questions in my head. At least the ones I’m too lazy to Google myself. Yesterday’s question was as follows:

Are there historical examples of modern democracies successfully reducing the size of their governments, either on a federal, state, or local level?

One guy named New Zealand and “a few Scandinavian countries” without further explanation. Brendan from New York replied:

There are examples of US states that have done it (I think Connecticut trimmed down successfully during the 90s). Also, and this is crucial, there are examples of countries that successfully ensured that the size of government did not grow once all necessary services were in order. Canada is a prime example. It has a sizable government, but it has been excellent at maintaining its size while the Canada population has grown. Its government isn’t bleeding like a lot of European countries are. The key for any government’s solvency is to maintain high revenues. Consider Greece, where $18 Billion in tax revenue went uncollected due to tax evasion. That means that Greece spent $145 Billion, collected $108, and could have collected a crucial $18 B more. If a country can’t effectively collect taxes owed, it’s finished.

So you’re telling me there’s a chance?