It’s hard to Have a discussion with a Republican without them mentioning their fetiish for what they refer to as “small government.” Of course, we all know that’s a joke; their definition of “small government” Is pretty absurd. On the one hand, their model is supposedly a government “small enough to drown in a bathtub.” On the other hand, they also want to make sure there is enough government to watch over every woman’s womb and every LGBT person’s living arrangements and personal choice. And given their other fetish for privatizing government functions, like prisons and welfare, do they really want “small government,: or do they just want to make it more profitable for their “investors”?
How can Republicans really champion “small government” when they refuse to create jobs and help people become self-sustaining? The best way to keep government out of people’s lives is to reduce their need for government assistance and yet the GOP refuses to create jobs. And they also cut the hell out of assistance, which begs the question, if you starve people to the point that they have to break the law in order to make ends meet and feed the kids, how does that lead to “small government”?
A government should be big enough to watch over the economy and the marketplace and keep it safe and secure. Government should be able to perform basic services that benefit all of us, but small enough to leave individuals alone for the most part, to do whatever we want, as long as it doesn’t hurt others or violate their rights. Frankly, the GOP’s definition seems to be the opposite of that. They want a government that leaves the marketplace alone, so that the crooks who invest in them can rip us off at will, but which also has far more control over individuals. Sorry, but the image of government peeking into our windows to make sure we’re “moral” is not one of “small government to me.
The Republican Party’s “small government” fascination doesn’t pass any sort of smell test. They claim they want lower taxes, but they only seem to care about reducing taxes on people who have no problem paying them. Have you noticed that they only cut income taxes and corporate taxes and they always try to kill the estate tax, but they never talk about cutting payroll taxes? Why do you think that is? It’s because the rich don’t pay those, for the most part. They want fewer regulations on the rich and large corporations, but they want to regulate everyone’s personal life to match some sort of phony moral framework they imagine Jesus wants. They want the government to stop helping the poor move up the societal ladder and become productive, but when it comes to draconian drug laws, they want the government to be gargantuan in its scope. They want to decide which art should and should not exist. They want to be able to force a woman to stay pregnant against her will, and to force her to undergo a vaginal probe in order to coerce her into doing so. They want to force everyone into adhering to their fake “Christian” religious beliefs. They want the government to dictate to everyone what constitutes a proper marriage and they want the government to force everyone to conform to whatever “lifestyle” they deem acceptable. And they imagine enforcing all of this with the “small government” they envision. Uh huh.
The current Republican Congress, run by those who brag about their “small government” credentials daily, have spent six years refusing to create jobs, opting instead to use their relatively short time working to pass bills that do vitually nothing. That includes their nearly 70 claimed attempts to kill the Affordable Care Act, all of which they knew would never pass. You know, because “small government” is not the same as “efficient government” or “effective government.” If you want to know why so many people are graduating with massive debt, it’s because their “small government” approach has robbed the states blind. And since most states are also run by Republicans right now, and they’re trying to make sure the states are also “small government,” they make us pay for things that used to be considered government investment. Even worse, their cutting has also resulted in more than a million public workers losing their jobs. Primarily, that means fewer police, firefighters and teachers. Again, this is their version of “small government.” It’s less service, not a lower cost, at least to us.
And no, it’s not “both parties” doing this. Democrats want to eliminate or severely modify crap like the Patriot Act, but it’s “small government” Republicans who want the government to watch everyone, to make sure we’re not all terrorists. And it’s Republicans who want the AUMF to stay intact, in case they get in power again. That way, they can torture people again. You know, because that’s what “small governments” do. Look at the “debate” over LGBT rights. As far as “small government” Republicans are concerned, the government is better able to decide who should and shouldn’t get a marriage license than the individuals in relationship. They don’t even advocate for removing government from the marriage business altogether, which would at least be consistent. No, they’re all in favor of issuing marriage licenses and having the government decide who is and isn’t worthy of one. Put simply, they have no problem allowing their “small government” to abrogate rights based on their own arbitrary standards.
The “drug war” was lost a long time ago, but you’d never know it based on how “small government” Republicans act. They have decided the best approach is to give police more and more power. Interdiction was proven to not work back in the 1920s, during alcohol prohibition, and yet, the only solution “small government” Republicans seem to be able to come up with is more government power over individuals, and more ways to ruin the lives of average people. As Republicans see it, shrinking the size of government means cutting the poor and middle class off at the knees. It only applies to spending money, except for the military. They don’t care if government intrudes into the lives of average Americans, as long as they leave the rich alone. Their vision of “small government” means your employer has the right to do anything they want, and you have no right, except the right to quit. It means you have to prove you’re a citizen and that you’re eligible to vote, when it’s supposed to be the government who has to prove you’re not.
If you really think about it, Republicans couldn’t care less about “small government.” In fact, since the neocon era began in 1981, the only presidents to have shrunk the size of government and reduced the number of useless government regulations have been Clinton and Obama. The only two presidents in that time to reduce deficits have been Bill Clinton and Obama. In that time, the two presidents to increase the size of government and to increase the number of regulations have been named Reagan and Bush. George W Bush set records by attaching signing statements to virtually every bill he saw. Is that “Small government”? And you don’t get to start two wars off the books, spend trillions on them, and demonstrate an intention to keep them going forever, as Bush did and Republicans in Congress agreed to, and then claim you’re in favor of smaller government. And need I even mention the monstrosity that is the Department of Homeland Security, which is largely a Republican creation?
Republicans aren’t in favor of smaller government, and the concept of “Small Government Republican” is an incredible joke. Treat it that way.