How Jerry Brown Scared California Straight
There's a very important lesson here for both parties. A fiscally irresponsible welfare state is a dangerously potent mix, and the current state of Italy, Portugal, Greece and Spain should attest to that. Living within your means may be an age-old axiom, but is now more relevant than ever, especially with the monetary expansionist policies of many central banks as of late. At the same time, this mad-obsession with deficit reduction has clouded many people's vision from understanding the necessity of government involvement in providing a number of key essential public services. Yes, if you start giving people too much for free, they'll eventually develop a habit of increased entitlement, but that is a poor rationale for a small government (more efficient government maybe).
I think it is high time Americans accept the fact that the complexities of a modern nation-state and the asymmetries plaguing the economic system has rendered the idea of small government pretty much obsolete. Free market capitalism, deregulation, liberalisation of markets, abolition of capital controls...they are all like children - under careful supervision they can be nurtured into invaluable assets, but leave them to their excesses unchecked and they will become a dangerous liability unto themselves as well as others.