What Is Big Government Anyway?

Big Government is a popular talking point repeated over and over with little or no explanation. I would like to know exactly what big government means to those that say it. Just for once I would like to hear somebody in the news industry ask those that repeat this talking point to explain what it means. I think it’s safe to say that the majority of people whether they are left or right leaning want effective and efficient government. Nobody wishes for bloated, expensive and wasteful government. My own view is that the focus needs to be on making government work. In turn, the actual size of the government will work itself out. Arbitrary spending limits or size restrictions do not solve problems of waste and inefficiency. I don’t pretend to have the answers on what it will take to make government work more efficiently but it’s clear to me that arbitrary spending cuts, tax reductions and federal employment cuts only serve to deflect from the real problems. It’s easy for politicians to decry big government as wasteful and then proceed to say we need to cut taxes and reduce spending and then offer no concrete solutions to do the later. This is why we find ourselves shackled with $14 trillion of debt.

People find some comfort in demonizing an abstract entity like big government because it’s not a personal attack; they aren’t singling out any one person or group. It’s a rallying call that is simple and effective even though its actual meaning continues to elude even those who repeat it. If we are to analyze what big government could possibly mean at the very least it certainly has to include the number of people employed by the federal government. If the goal is to reduce the size of government logic would dictate that must mean people will lose their jobs, does it not? I’m not sure that sounds like a good way to increase job growth right now in this economic recovery. Do you?

Just something to think about next time you hear a popular talking point repeated over and over by a random talking head. Things in life rarely can be reduced to a couple of words. Most of the time there are many subtle shades in the place where some people choose to only see black and white. Those subtle shades in many cases lead to real consequences that affect real people.


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