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    If you're against big government, it's time to be specific. You can see the budget pie chart at Wikipedia. Over the next decades, remember that Social Security and especially Medicare become ever-larger slices of the pie.

    As an against-big-government activist, how many of the following will you have the integrity to advocate dropping:

    • 21%: Social Security
    • 16.6%: Defense
    • 13.3%: Medicare
    • 11.2%: Unemployment Insurance and Welfare
    • 9.0%: Interest Payments
    • 7.2%: Medicaid and SCHIP
    • 5.0%: War on Terror

    Total of the above: 83.3%

    Everything else is rounding error in terms of cost, though important in terms of impact (education, highways, court system, national parks, bailouts, etc.)

    There are two options here.

    Option One: You are in favor of eliminating or deeply cutting several of the Big Items in the list above: Social Security, Defense, Medicare/Medicaid, or Unemployment Insurance.

    If you believe we should eliminate Social Security, Medicare, Defense, and other stuff with 60-80%-plus public support then I respect your argument and your integrity, but let's face it, you probably aren't a politician facing re-election, and you're advocating something that's not going to happen soon.

    Option Two: You are not against "big government"; you are in favor of "let's trim 10-20% off the government while leaving it pretty big" or something like that.

    If you really mean "let's trim 10-20%" can we please stop being so melodramatic? As I've whined before, moving government size, or tax brackets, by a few percent is not the difference between capitalism and socialism.

    • Libertarian: government should be 5% of its current size.
    • Socialist: government should be 200% of its current size.
    • Republicans and Democrats judged by actions not rhetoric: government should be 105% of whatever it just was. Disagreement on where the new 5% goes.

    Politicians are obligated to be in favor of cutting taxes while raising spending, because the public in the aggregate is in favor of that impossibility. Ridiculous, right? But if you oppose the vague abstraction of "big government" without bringing up which of the big programs you're wanting to cut, you're part of the problem.

    There are only 7 areas accounting for 83.3% of the budget. Should be pretty easy to pick one and encourage cutting it as a concrete path to meaningful government-ectomy. It's time to get specific.