What is ‘BIG GOVERNMENT?’

Author: September 15, 2011 11:56 am

You don’t have to look very far these days, whether you’re reading the daily newspaper, surfing the internet for the latest news or flipping through the channels on your tv set to hear the newest political catch phrase, “BIG GOVERNMENT.” The phrase is most commonly used by right wing conservatives to describe what is perceived as an increase in government regulations on private industries and government funded social entitlement programs like Welfare and Medicaid. However, “BIG GOVERNMENT” means different things to different people depending on where you are standing.

If you are a member of the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives, for instance, of which consists of 100 and 435 members respectively, you may perceive government to be big, in the most literal sense by its very design and purpose. However for the corporate CEO or small business owner, “BIG GOVERNMENT” could represent increased taxation, regulations, license requirements and fees that could inhibit them from maximizing their profit or keep them from turning a profit at all. Or it could represent a federally mandated healthcare system that demands more taxes and inhibits job growth. To the U.S. citizen boarding a commercial jet liner, “BIG GOVERNMENT” could be perceived as the intrusion on ones civil liberties demonstrated by a mandatory full body scan. To citizens of foreign sovereign nations in the Middle East and elsewhere “BIG GOVERNMENT” could be perceived as that of an imperialistic empire with multiple alliances, embassies and military occupations around the world.

You don’t have to look very far these days, whether you’re reading the daily newspaper, surfing the internet for the latest news or flipping through the channels on your tv set to hear the newest political catch phrase, “BIG GOVERNMENT.”


One thing is for certain, however. The term, “BIG GOVERNMENT’ is rarely used to describe the positive aspects of our government which include the vast system of checks and balances necessary to prevent the centralization of power among a single or small group of individuals. And in order for these checks and balances to accomplish this effectively government in a very real sense must be big. After all few would argue that in a democratic society, “for the people, of the people and by the people”, with a population of over 300 million, that a “big government” isn’t necessary to some degree to serve the people it is designed to represent.

The reality is that most Americans are for “BIG GOVERNMENT” in some form or another whether they admit it or not. The real dividing line between liberals and conservatives is not whether government should be big or small but rather what parts of government should be big and who should pay for it.

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