Friday, November 12, 2010

Do we want to be united, or divided

Some phrases are so common that if you say the first part of the phrase, most people will automatically finish it for you. For example if you say "United we stand..." Most people will at least think of the second half: "divided we fall."

There is great power in unity. One of the classic examples is to give a thin branch to a child. They can easily break it. Then give two branches and often the child will have a harder time but still be able to break it. But if you give them a dozen or hundred branches lashed together he won't be able to break it. The lesson is that together we can be stronger and more effective than by ourselves.

Paul Jacob recently challenged the assumption that we should always be united. In Divided We Stand he shares a fascinating statistic, that when the government in Washington DC was united by the same party in both the legislative and executive branches, the increase in federal spending was on average 4.67%, but when the White House and Congress were split across the two parties the federal spending grew at almost half the rate, 2.55%.

The recent election should mean for a number of reasons a much smaller growth in government.


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