William Thien

Measuring The Size of Government

Posted on: July 31, 2012

I have read a number of commentaries recently which attempt to determine whether or not government has increased in size over a given period of time. The authors attempted to measure the size of various portions of the government due to expenditures and number of personnel. If you ask me, that is an indirect way of measuring government and in fact distracts us from the true measure, taxes.

It occurs to me that perhaps a more direct way to measure the size of government is to simply measure government by the burden of taxation. Regardless of the actual size of government, if taxes have gone up over any given period of time, government has in fact increased in size with regard to its relationship with the public as its burden upon the public in the form of taxation has in fact increased. Therefore, government has grown.

Another way may be to simply determine to scope of regulation upon the citizen and industry. We know both of those statistics would also indicate an increase in the size of government as legislators make more and more laws every day.

The primary measure, though, in my opinion is increase in taxation. If taxation has increased, the size of government has increased, simple as that.

Copyright © William Thien 2012

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