09/28/2010 11:13 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Reducing Government

The best military in the world; domestic law enforcement; cleaner air and water; safer food and drugs; highways, roads, and bridges; Social Security; Medicare and Medicaid; a judicial system; embassies around the world; space exploration; bank insurance; safer vehicles; national laboratories; air traffic control; support for education; health research; assistance to the elderly, the disabled, and poor children; loans to small business; national parks, recreation, and wilderness areas; national forests; disaster relief and recovery; cleanup of industrial waste; support for veterans; a 220-year-old democratic system = government.

The anti-government forces, so noisy of late, have yet to state with any specificity which of these functions (all of which they enjoy, including large federal payments to Alaska), they would like to get rid of. Until they do, their seriousness must be questioned. It used to be "waste, fraud, and abuse", that is until we entered a long period of mostly conservative administrations during which the size and cost of government did not go down.

This "debate" about the size and role of government will not get serious until the Tea Party and others tell us exactly what they want to get rid of.

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