As part of the application process to work for Governor-elect Scott Walker (WI), an essay answer to a question about the proper role of state government was required. Below is my answer to that question. My own question remains, though. Who is reading all of these essays?! LOL.
The proper role of state government is to provide for those areas of interest where the private sector or individuals cannot carry out duties for themselves. It is my firmly held belief that people don't want to fail. So, when you get government out of the way, businesses are created and grow which means people can work and grow. If you can fuel an entrepreneurial spirit in individuals and allow such an environment to flourish, people -- not government -- begin to accomplish special things in all aspects of their lives. This extends well beyond their pocketbook, but it starts there.
Fiscally, the state should consider itself little more than a clearinghouse for the collective purchases of the taxpayers. This means that if there is a project for which it is only reasonable to assume collective funding is necessary, the state should provide the oversight necessary to enter into contractual relationships with private contractors who can be held accountable for both the quality of the end product and the expediency with which the project is completed. Except in very limited cases where highly sensitive private information is exchanged, most activities the state overseas on behalf of the taxpayer would be better provided through experienced oversight of the private entity that contractually agrees to carry out the activity.
The state, therefore, should act solely as a qualified expert agent for the taxpayers to benefit from economies of scale and not as the deepest darkest pockets in the marketplace.
The state should also stay out of the business of “helping” people make better decisions in how to live their everyday lives. History proves out that the very moment a new limitation on behavior is decreed by state law, a new loophole is created that often drives human behavior to ridiculous outcomes. The addiction to social engineering through government regulation and statute is unhealthy and doesn’t work. By limiting the size and scope of state government, I believe people will generally make decisions that create a better life for themselves.
State government’s role is to preserve freedom and create a healthy atmosphere for choice and competition among the people and employers in the state. The state, essentially, should be working for the citizens… not the other way around.