What is 'Big Government'


I liked this one:


It’s all perspective. When it does things you’re ok with then it’s just fine. When it does things you disagree with then it’s too big.

Kinda like how judges whose opinions you agree with are constitutionalists, but the ones you disagree with are activists.


The bill of rights was specifically to limit the controls that Federal Government could have on the people.

And to nitpick, most laws (and to take an extreme, let’s consider laws governing murder), do not control the person, but rather, determine what response government will take when someone violates them. If we were going to control the person, we would have a “Minority Report” type of prevention that stopped the person before he committed murder.

Yes, I know we can go mack and forth with example and counter-example of control versus response.

I consider it a dangerous approach to design government to control the person.

Most times those are strawmen raised by pro-government people trying to back small-government people into a corner.

NO government is anarchy, and plenty of small-government participants in this thread have made that clear.


You are horrible at this.


If “proper” govt requires it to be big then it does.


You said the point of Government (not big government. not small government. Just Government) is to control people.

I said that’s not the POINT of government. Or, at least, it should not be. Don’t add words to what I said!

As for roads and/or other reasonable functions of government, you know what I said about that because you previously quoted it in another reply:

So I’m not sure why you thought it was meaningful to ask me about roads. (Nor rules of the road.)


I consider this question worthy of a separate reply.

Anarchy is NO government. That emphasis was in the very portion of my reply that you quoted. The distinction is in the words. And plenty of people have made that distinction. Returning to the assertion that there is no distinction, or that nobody has made the distinction, is your own strawmen, and it’s simply a disingenuous one.


Is a president saying a comedy show should be tested in court for making fun of him considered big government?


I did. Way back at the top of the thread.


The most thorough came from Guvanah:
“Big government” is a summation of 1000 increments. It transcends taxes. It transcends spending. It transcends law. It transcends bureaucracy. It transcends codes and regulations and restrictions and zoning and all sorts of governmental dictates.

It’s the summation of all those things. And more. Too often we look at “big government” in the context of one of those factors. Or even in the context of one specific issue.

The incremental burden of an issue, or the incremental loss of liberty from one issue might be minuscule. “This new tax adds only 22 cents per month to your cost…” But add up 1000 of them and the burden becomes significant. The limitation of a particular bureaucratic decision might not even impact a specific individual, but 1000 bureaucracies run by 10,000 unelected “directors” making non-legislative rules eventually impacts everyone.

And let’s not forget the power of both parties’ unelected leadership controlling what candidates we have as choices in the elections. Parties no longer embrace policies and principles for the sake of making our country better, but rather they embrace what gives them the best chance to hold onto power.

It’s not limited to the national level. Nor State. It goes right down to municipal government, school boards, and local commissions.

Government is bigger than the sum of the citizenry it governs. That’s Big Government."

The best succinct answer would pertain to the amount of laws, regulation and level of total taxation. In my experience many on the left will say that “oh your only taxed at 20% of your income.” But that is only at the Federal level. When one includes all state and local taxes. That can easily bring a person up to 40%, which in the words on Nancy Pelosi isn’t peanuts.


Death by 1000 cuts.


That’s just a long way of saying “big government is lots of things added up.” It is so non-specific, that there’s really not anything to talk about.


If you want to really simplify it, then you would say that it is the total sum of ALL the taxes: Federal, State, Local, etc., + the total cost of regulations which increase the cost of goods on the citizens.


So big government is taxes and regulations? Ok. Now what?


Do you mean objective? I’m not sure there is any objective definition, at least not when specifics become involved.

Generally speaking, big government is government that exceeds its sphere, or expands beyond its allotted powers. Or course, whether or not a government has done that is precisely the point of debate, isnt it?


Big Government is a place holder for “whatever aspect of government I disagree with.”



Cons who whine about “big” government…love them some “big” government when it strips rights of people they do not like. (ie. gay marriage).

The reality is with a population of 300+ million people, the lack of big, effective government is necessary, to minimize chaos.


If you are looking for some absolute objective definition then you know very well there is none. You and I have had numerous cordial and respectful conversations and here it seems you’re playing semantics. You obviously know that “big government” will mean different things to different people. For many people both on the left and right although there’s been different views on say levels of taxation and regulations, that there’s been general agreement on restricting government with regards to liberty and freedom.


My idea of Big Government is the government from 1984. If it’s not that big it’s not really on the scale I would consider “big” per se.


Know what? You’re being obtuse.