Big-Government-Jefferson-QuoteIt was Ronald Reagan who famously quipped that the ‘government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: ‘If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”‘

As well at the shockingly antidemocratic nature of the EU, there is its addiction to regulation and its bringing forth of a seemingly endless stream of legislation.

This is the nature of most governments (though there are exceptions, for example the Texas State Legislature, which  80 days every other year). And it’s partly our fault. We too often demand that ‘something must be done’ or that this thing or that thing must be banned, encouraged, mandated or regulated.

It’s interesting to note, therefore, what happens when a nation is unable to agree upon a government. You might think that the country which has gone without a government for the longest period would be somewhere wild and warlike like Somalia or Iraq, whereas in fact it is peaceful and inoffensive Belgium. In 2010-2011, Belgium survived 589 days without a government. What pandemonium ensued? None.

People carried on. Lights stayed on, buses and trains ran, people spent money and made money, there were no riots or invasions and, naturally, the vast EU machine chuntered on.

For a more recent case (Spain) this article in The Spectator raises some interesting points about the ways in which too much government (especially with respect to regulation) can stifle prosperity.