But does the idea that bigger is not better apply just to government? What about America’s banks, business and media?
The banks were the epicenter of the financial meltdown of 2008. Big government stepped in to save the big banks and then regulated all banks as never before with legislation known as Dodd-Frank. This law places small banks at a great disadvantage because the costs of compliance are a lot harder for them to absorb than big banks. The issue surrounding that legislation is not just whether some banks are too big to fail, but whether others are too small to save. But are the interests of consumers better served by a few mega banks or a myriad of small, community banks?
And what about commerce? This is a paradoxical time for American business. In an online world, small units of business, or microenterprise, is flourishing as never before, as more and more people are able to fill niches in the marketplace functioning as independent units rather than vehicles of large corporations. At the same time, mega stores such as Wal Mart dominate the physical landscape, shuttering many a small business.
But as with banks, big government is regulating business more and more, and small business, like small banks, have far more trouble with compliance than big business. And job-threatening government regulation is increasing despite the fact that almost three quarters of new jobs in America are created by small business. We know that entrepreneurs are consistently pushed to the limits of their creativity, and by necessity work harder and take much greater care than when they work for someone else. Human nature.
At the same time, it is also true that big business is better positioned to develop life-changing and life-saving breakthroughs in technology, medicine and other areas of commerce.
Then there is big media. The internet has, and will continue to, level the playing field between the so-called mainstream media and smaller units in digital media. Are consumers better served by the dominance of a handful of major and all-encompassing newspapers and networks, or a marketplace of hundreds of hungry, upstart, innovative, yet limited media outlets?
The answer to this big versus small question can largely be found in one word. Competition. Better products, price and service always go hand in hand with more rather than less businesses competing for your hard-earned dollars.
America’s founders sought above all else to unshackle the people from unjust restrictions on their freedom. They were able to pass a constitution specifically designed to limit the size and control of government, thus allowing banks, business and media to compete, function and grow organically and provide consumers as much choice as possible.
The question is, are we the people better served, and will we prosper more, with fewer big institutions, or more small ones?