What Size Government Fits the US?

The Republicans have been talking for decades about reducing the size of government. The government actually grew more under Reagan and the Bush family than under past Democratic presidents, Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton. But still they talk about reducing the size of government. Reagan famously said, "Government isn't the solution to the problem; it is the problem!" He did not go into the details, though.

The Republicans desire a smaller government because small governments are more easily controlled by corporations than large ones. But Republicans never mention this. They say it is for the common good, though they never explain why.

Here is a rule of thumb which I think most political scientists can agree on:

—Small countries need small governments.
—Medium-sized countries need medium-sized governments.
—Large countries need large governments.

When the first census was taken in 1790, the population of the USA was only about 4 million. On October 1, 2012 the population was about 315 million. The larger the population, the more meat inspectors, vehicle safety inspectors, pharmaceutical overseers, federal investigators, tax collectors, prison guards, etc. we need. Government must grow as the country grows.

These programs protect us from unethical corporations and individuals. Our health and lives depend on. I can't see how we can do without any of them. When asked, Republicans can only rant on against Social Security, Medicare, the Education Department as they have since these entities came into being. We can reduce their size, reduced the overlap, as President Obama is doing, but there is only so far we can reduce the size of government before the USA becomes a banana republic.

We need to get the anger out of politics. When the campaigns are over, the winners need to stop campaigning and govern. Only then can they figure out ways to reduce these programs and raise the revenues to pay for others.

(Sunbury Daily Item, October 21, 2012)
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