The False “Size Of Government” Debate

I look at charts like the one below (prepared by the conservative Heritage Foundation)…

…and I wonder two things.

First, how can Republicans continue to argue with a straight face that they support making government smaller? Regardless of President Reagan’s veto pen, Newt Gingrich’s budget writing powers, or George W. Bush’s veto pen AND Dennis Hastert’s budget writing powers, the Republicans have never truly made government “smaller” in the sense of spending and investment.

Second, if this is the case, why do we continue incessantly with the debate over the size of government? It seems to me this debate likely ended with Alexander Hamilton in the 18th century.

For me, there is no debate here. The real discussion needs to be what do we do with this government? Do we waste most of it on useless tax cuts for rich people, endless wars, and bloated defense contractors, or do we invest it in universal healthcare, renewable energy, and top notch education? That’s the real debate which we never seem to get around to having because we’re conducting a pointless debate over government’s size. Enough already.