Does size really matter?

So there’s a huge divide in America right now  between those who hate what they call “big government” and those who like a so-called “big government”. It seems at first glance to be a vague and non-specific topic, but I think at the heart of this question is the reason why politics has become so polarized. How can a government solve any problems when a large percentage of people, even politicians themselves, see the government as the cause of our problems?  In the Zakaria essay we’ve been bludgeoning ourselves with all week he alludes to this problem, but it has only gotten worse in the two years since he wrote his piece.

This debate over size of government has existed since our beginning. It’s true that the founding fathers generally hated the idea of a large centralized government ruling over everything, but neither were they the strict states-rights guys that conservative Republicans like to say they were. One of the first major items that George Washington put into law was the creation of a National Bank. Though he did sign this legislation somewhat reluctantly, he still believed that for the U.S. to establish itself as a major player on the world stage this step was essential.

Now of course that we are established, many conservatives feel that it’s time to scale back our immenseness, which they see as an unwelcome intrusion into programs that could be handled better at the state level. Meanwhile, many of a more liberal bent see cutting such programs to be a step backward. The hobby horse most Republicans are whipping the hell out of right now is a little thing called the National Debt. They see this fourteen trillion dollar beast as an unpleasant byproduct of “big government”.

I found an article called National Debt: Are Higher Taxes Needed to Reduce the Debt? by Marcia Clemmitt. Raising taxes is one of the most toxic debates going right now. Typically, those against “big government” oppose raising taxes of any kind, on anybody. On the other side are those who, I guess, love “big government” who won’t even discuss cutting entitlements without having higher taxes be part of the package.

( Stylistic question for Meredith: If I’m going to write about “big government” do I have to keep putting quotation marks around it? It’s getting annoying. At a certain point, can we just assume quotes? Or am I doing it wrong from the start?)

My second article will probably be a delightful piece called Tea Party Movement: Will Angry Conservatives Reshape the Republican Party? by Peter Katel. The tea baggers fascinate me. They’re basically a bunch of angry white folks who think the government is too “big”. They only want what they feel they’re entitled to and fuck everyone else. (That’s how I see them. In my essay maybe I’ll be a little more tactful.;) This movement that hates the president and hates everything democratic has creeped into the normally reasonable Republican Party and started to affect our politics. Many recently elected members of Congress are of this movement. The irony is that they hate government, they run for office, and then don’t do anything once they get there. They seem to have no constructive ideas except to be against everything. Again, that’s my opinion and open to debate. But I think to be against everything is not a real principle, it’s just plain douchebaggery.

I really believe this debate over size and powers of government is crucial to understanding the mess we’re in right now. So as of this moment, my inquiry question has to be “Does Size Really Matter?” You know states can’t get along without the federal government. What happens every time there’s a disaster in this country? The states need help from the feds. Then they bitch that the programs they send their representatives to D.C. to gut aren’t there for their needs. Look at how Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast and half of  Congress wouldn’t vote them federal aid! These provincial attitudes just don’t cut it with me. When it happens to them, the state cries for help. If it’s another state, the cry is “Fuck them!” It’s absolutely disgusting.

Is the size of government the problem with our nation’s slippage? Or is that an excuse? A big government has to naturally be a government for the majority, right? Then how come we’re still run by special interests? If the tea baggers hate today’s America so much, then why don’t they just leave? A country isn’t the creation of one group of people, and it’s supposed to belong to all of us. Why is the quality of our lives degrading? Is that the fault of a big government? It all comes back to that question for me, and I’m really going to try to come up with an answer.

So stay tuned for Essay #2!

812 words; 5:50 PM; 8/9/13

4 thoughts on “Does size really matter?

  1. Dylan,

    First, to answer your stylistic question, you do not need to use quotes every time, unless you really want to emphasize that irony. You may also want to think of some synonyms (which hopefully you did in class today) so that you don’t have to repeat the same term over and over again.

    I think you’ve done some great preliminary work on your Essay #2 and you have a great inquiry question to move forward with. I am curious about how you will define America’s “slippage” and the quality of life degrading? Will you primarily use Zakaria to name the problems with our country today or will you be focusing in a different direction? Are the problems that Zakaria names with our nation the same ones that Tea Party names when they talk about national issues? Remember that you cannot have an academic debate with the opposition when you are not talking about the same thing. (This is probably at the heart of much government dysfunction–but that is a different inquiry question!)

    Okay, I hope that comment was helpful. Good work so far!


  2. Hi Dylan, How are you doing today? How are your weekends? Hope you can have a lot of fun. I am happy to read your blog as a place to add my comment in order to accomplish our class words, you said that you found an article called National Debt: Are Higher Taxes Needed to Reduce the Debt? by Marcia Clemmitt. Raising taxes is one of the most toxic debates going right now. I think rising taxes is an inevitable measure to impose, in order to maintain American society having balance money use of United States government. I heard from news that a lot of states’ governments are have trouble that lack of money, sounds like they are bankrupted. I think may be people and governments can change their style of living and working. People in here have very different attitudes and values than people in Asia. A lot of people in here seem not to care their daily expenses. For instance, people can spend 4 bucks every day for a coffee or snack, but Asia people mostly would prefer to save that money in their wallet. I saw a lot of houses in here were owed by bank, because those original owners bankrupted. People purchase things without deliberation in here are a deadly problem. I think they should try to manage and to think how to use their money wisely.

    • A few weeks ago, Jen should have emailed you a password to open your engrade account. If you don’t have the password, you can’t get in to the website. I think our new teacher might be able to give you a new password. If you’ve completed all the assignments so far you should have a 100 percent.

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