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David Corn speaks the unthinkable: "What's wrong with big government?" At the risk of incurring the wrath of the Tea Partiers, of course.

Video image from an interview by Stuart Schulzke of with American political analyst David Corn, 12/18/09. (image:
Video image from an interview by Stuart Schulzke of with American political analyst David Corn, 12/18/09. (image: your social media marketing partner


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+10 # Guest 2010-05-10 23:51
David, right on. You are my hero!
-4 # Guest 2010-05-12 09:52
J you have very low standards for 'hero'.
+4 # Guest 2010-05-12 15:22
I'm with you, J! If what Corn is saying seems controversial, it's only because corporations have been so successful over the last thirty years in blinding people to the manner in which government can protect us against predatory activity of corporations, and to the manner in which government can promote a common good that is evidently of no concern to many corporations.
+2 # Guest 2010-05-13 00:54
NO corporation has an interest in promoting the common good. The ONLY thing a corporation, any corporation promotes is its' own bottom line, public be damned.
-21 # Guest 2010-05-11 00:16
No government regulation prevented the Times Square bomber from making his attempt--we are merely fortunate that he not skilled in bomb-building. No government writ prevented the BP well in the Gulf of Mexico from blowing out or assisted BP's attempts at containment.

As to Wall Street, there have never been more regulations on securities trading at any time than there are now. Few seem to realize that the creation of more regulations merely means the creation of more loopholes.

The only legitimate power of government is to insure that no one touches your body, your property, or your money without your permission. That requires no libraries of regulations or armies of bureaucrats. All that is required is an honest police force and court system to insure that those who are wronged can seek redress.

You won't find that on a "Tea Party" banner. The Tea Party does not want small government. They just want government that picks on other people than it does now.
+16 # Guest 2010-05-11 10:15
I hate to be the one to tell you.., but Conservatives have sent America on a 30 year long Deregulation Bender...
A severe LACK of Regulations is what allowed 'Too Big To Fail' to exist in the first place and also allowed them to crash the entire planet's economy.

Deregulation of Media Ownership Rules is what's allowed for almost all Media in America to now be owned and exploited by just a few, huge Global Corporations... Tell me.., do you trust the information you get from 'Global Corporate Newz' to be actual real, truthful information you can actually use..?

Deregulation has made our food, water, air and drug quality assurance less assured.

The 'Deregulation/L ess Government Tragic Outcomes List' is endless...
0 # Guest 2010-05-12 09:53
Very well said!
+22 # Guest 2010-05-11 01:12
I wonder the same thing.
Big Government of the People served us quite well for a very long time. Then along came Ronald Reagan and his declarations that ''Government IS the Problem.''
Soon after, a new breed of CONservatives came along and led millions of voters to believe that a lot LESS GOVERNMENT (of ourselves) would be a Good Thing.
Now, after 30 years of Their type of Government and a long time of NOT THEM before Reagan, We the People can actually compare the STATE OF THE UNION under both regimes.
In my book, a Big Government of the People by the People for the People wins hands down over the Post Reagan CONservative style of 'Less Government' of the People (a.k.a.., A Corporatcracy of the Corporate by the Corporate for the Corporate).
'Less Government of OURSELVES' is what is sold through Global Corporate CONservative Media to the Tea Party Crowd as the pathway to Liberty and Prosperity.
A Good Question is--- Why are they buying it ?
+16 # Guest 2010-05-11 02:13
Finally, it's so great to hear this said by someone else. I've been saying this for years now. Yes, it's big government, but IT'S A BIG COUNTRY too, you know. "HELLLOO-O?" Time for the narrow-minded, myopic, self-centered Tea partiers and Palin-drones (pun intended,couldn 't resist) to drop their Luddite conceits and come back to the real world. Either that or fire up those(gasoline or diesel-
powered cani cruiser and get out there on the boom line to hold the oil slick from ruining their beachfront resort and retirement properties. Funny how that works, ain't it?
-19 # Guest 2010-05-11 03:24
......don`t have to draw a pension to know bigh government is not the answer....obvio usly Corn could live to draw three pensions, and it wouldn`t be long enough to understand it....
+11 # Guest 2010-05-11 08:06
As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality. - George Washington

The problem is NOT big government; it is BAD government, like how the GOP rules. Would Katrina have been so terrible if not for BAD government? We know it wasn't the size of government, because a GOP President and GOP Congress had annihilated FEMA, weakening it beyond belief, even to the point of hiring a completely unqualified director just because of his blind loyalty to the GOP mantras. When will you learn? The GOP mantras have resulted in the Great Depression and now the Great Recession. Are you gluttons for punishment?
+9 # Guest 2010-05-11 04:12
The problem with big business is the dictatorship involved by most GOP members,and the Tea Party is just there to make sure it stays that way. The true Americans are the parties who try to compromise as it should be. Prescott Bush and his wealthy friends were some of the first in 1933, to try and implement Hitlerian dictatorship policies in the US and oust FDR who was president at the time.
-19 # Guest 2010-05-11 05:18
Apples and Oranges! This is exactly the type of thing a Limited Government should be able to handle as well as "Big Government". More levels of bureaucracy often slow things down (like the response to Hurricane Katrina--just ask anyone in New Orleans!). Furthermore, I don't hear the Tea Party-ers complaining about the military...just about things like the $338.3 Billion spent on illegal aliens each year, huge government payrolls (of people who contribute nothing to GNP and whose salaries are a tax levied on everyone else), government waste (more government = more ways to piss away OUR money!), etc. Age old wisdom: "that government which governs best, governs least"!
+10 # Guest 2010-05-11 07:44
It is not a question of Big Government or Small Government; it is a question of good or BAD government. What lies to say Katrina was worse because of "big government" when Bush tore apart FEMA and put someone as incompetent as himself into the position to lead FEMA. The problem was plain BAD government... not big government.

If what you said were true (but it isn't), then Obama would have come in, and made it worse by virtue of his liberality, with tons more "big government" in FEMA. Yet, the governors of Kentucky and Tennessee (republican) are full of praise at how quickly and efficiently FEMA responded to the recent floods there.
Ooops! Does that totally blow your cockamamey idiotic theories out of the proverbial flood waters?

Would small government be able to do that? Would "BAD" government, like what is created by hiring anti-government people like Bush and Brownie, be able to respond to this disaster? Of course not. But GOOD government does.
+14 # Guest 2010-05-11 07:53
You talk about huge government payrolls, of people who contribute nothing to the GDP, yet you don't mention a thing about the gamblers on Wall Street that produce nothing, making money off of trading paper back and forth, who just destroyed BILLIONS of dollars of good citizen's life savings! We need "BIG" government to protect us regular, honest folk from people like you, who think only the rich have the capacity to decide who works and doesn't (so just give all the GDP to them instead of spreading it out - only THEY will know what to do with it - how ELITIST!) IF we had more government programs to monitor this, to regulate this, then the Great Recession would never have occurred.
Ever since your regrettable Reagan changed the tax structure, the rich have been getting richer, and the poor are just getting poorer. THAT is re-distribution of income alright! ALL of the Gross Domestic Product (our resources) is being given to those who work the least, and you think that's just fine?
+23 # Guest 2010-05-11 06:16
TeePee'ers slop at the public trough just as fast and furious as everyone else in this country. They just throw sharper elbows and strap guns to their hips to keep others from pushing in front of them and getting what they think is rightfully theirs, and to demand that they shouldn't have to pay for it.
-1 # paperpushermj 2010-05-11 22:23
Ms.Carter Me thinks you have never talked with a tee party person.
+12 # Guest 2010-05-11 06:58
What it comes down to was said by G.K. Chesterton in The Man Who Was Thursday: "The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly. The rich have always objected to being governed at all." And since even the poorest person today is unimaginably rich by the standards of 1908, at least in having access to material goods whose very basis didn't exist then, it doesn't surprise me (just saddens me) that the rich have been able to propagandize so many of the poor into sharing their view that (to quote Chesterton again) "The real crime of the government is that it governs."
+14 # Guest 2010-05-11 07:37
The issue is always quality, not quantity. Nobody likes "big government" anymore than "Big Brother". The problem is who controls the legislature - corporate interests or the people? Just because the government's involved doesn't mean it has to be big. A single payer health system using universal and fair taxation based on income would have been a lot smaller and more efficient that a complex monster of half-assed 'reforms'. Providers could still be private - the payer would simply be Medicare. Democrats are failing to get popular approval because they can't connect with ordinary people - who simply want fairness, equal treatment under the law, reasonable regulations that don't hamper business but do protect public health and safety etc. Unfortunately, most Democrats, like Republicans, are simply pawns of big interests. And people equate government with big (corporate) interests. (See Pew research on this). Until the Dems become a true reform party, they'll lose.
+3 # Guest 2010-05-11 07:47
It's not so much
Big Government that's at fault, but Congress (The House of Reprehensatives and the SENILE). They are the guys who just can't keep from spending more and more money, and the good old American voters keep reelecting them, year after year.
-2 # Guest 2010-05-12 08:43
Sandy, Well said! David Corn misses on all three of his points. "Bad government" (big or small) should not be tolerated by any voter. Congress is not made of of "The house of reprehensibles and those in the "Senile Chamber".
Mr. Corn would have us believe that if a ship has a bad captain, adding a second captain would improve the situation! The real solution would, of course be much more direct; fire the incompetent.
Mr. Corn would have us believe that 'big government' ("quality" undefined/unimp ortant) would prevent natural disasters like huge methane bubbles that likely caused the current oil catastrophe and laws could actually prevent damages from huge hurricanes or tornadoes. To Mr. Corn, no matter how big government gets, it will not prevent global warming from Volcanoes.
Meanwhile, The personal debt of our Grandchildren, every one, will continue to grow about the $200,000.00 current burden. Do you propose they can afford more “BIG Government”????
-1 # Guest 2010-05-12 08:45
Mr. Corn is wrong about 'big governments' roll in the latest terror attack in New York; the government was totally UNSUCCESSFUL in preventing this attack. Only Providence and a very astute individual 'non government' citizen took effective action to end this attack.
"Big Government" that is innept is the problem! TEA Party people know that unlimited money flowing into such a scam is unfair to our grandkids and does nothing to reduce the huge risks to their future.
-1 # Guest 2010-05-12 08:47
"Big government", obviously dedicated to their first priority of re-election and fund raising is the problem. Nothing has been done in the last one and a half years to reduce the size or influence of the real 'big government': the lobbyist "Branch" of our government.
Mr. Corn is disengenuous when he doesn't address the problems of that largest and growing part of our government and the most powerful. They outnumber our Elected government by more than twenty to one and are the single most corrupting factor IN OUR GOVERNMENT. The donkeys and Elephants have failed but The TEA Party is big enough now to take them on.
0 # Guest 2010-05-13 00:59
Ed, try to figure it out. BECAUSE big government, small government or any government is in the pocket of BIG BUSINESS, it will be bad government. Shrinking government per se is irrelevent. Heck, do away with the government altogether! Do you think that big business is going to step into that vacuum and behave any better than the government you despise? You don't get it do you. The government, in order to serve the people, HAS to be big enough to exceed the power of big business to whom your freedoms, well being and survival make not a whit of difference. You think the Tea Party is going to make a difference? What the hell kind of koolaide are you drinking!
-1 # Guest 2010-05-13 09:21
Daniel, Not that your vitriol deserves a reply, bigoted comments will not influence anyone. You stand starkly alone is imagining 'government shrinking into a vacuum'. What an idiotic posture. Please get your facts straight, the TEA Part is already having huge impact; incumbents corrupt careers are ending and it is the only threat to Lobbyists power. We all want a government sufficient to important tasks but How much fraud and waste and debt is 'enough' for your kids (Grandkids)?? They already own over $200k.
0 # Guest 2010-05-13 23:37
Ed, it's too bad you can't tell what a rhetorical device is. I have never imagined government shrinking into a vacuum, although I do specifcly believe that representative government, of, by and for the people and NOT big business, has been sucked into a vacuum alright! My point stands. Big government, small government, any government is bad government when it is owned by big business, which our government is. Big government per se (look up per se) is not the point one whit.
Do you know what a logical progression analysis is? If you take the tenets of you teabaggers, imagin these as realized and project that into the future, you get horror that defies description. You worry about fraud and waste as if big business didn't have anything to do with this when it has EVERYTHING to do with this. You get YOUR facts straight!
Me a bigot? Read a dictionary for petes sake. Oh, and I don't give a damn if I influence anyone. I'd rather people learned to think for themselves. Give it a try, Ed.
+10 # Guest 2010-05-11 07:56
Like any politicak interest group, the agenda of the TP'ers is to make sure they get their piece, first, and to stop other groups if that's what it takes.

And I echo other posters here: we are a country of 330 million people, so Big Government is a logical answer to problems that are national and international in scope.

Rep's and TP'ers in particular, have the fantasy belief, the political myth, that interdependent problems go away if you don't fund them. Human suffering doesn't stop because an administration changes.

When the parties come together, and the country unites behind real human needs, and acts to protect the environment, and life, before consumption and profit takes precedent, we may have a chance for human surivival. See Zeitgeist, the movie, and thevenusproject .com.
+9 # Guest 2010-05-11 08:44
It all boils down to as big a goverment as it takes to get the job done.
The industrial complex has had it's day and look what they did to the Government, the people, the environment.
All of it base greed and anti human, anti government, anti planet, and anti responsibilty.

So let's have a Taj Mahal of a Government and, how about making The industrial Complex pay for it!!!

They can afford it!
+6 # JayMagoo 2010-05-11 09:13
The main difference between Big Government running health care and the "free market" insurance companies doing it, is that the Big Government agencies work for us, we pay everyone there a salary, and they operate according to the rules that we set. When the "free market" insurance companies to it, they all must make a profit, and to do so, they must collect money that we pay them and then deny us the services we pay them to provide. Of course those insurance companies who do that denial well, pay huge bonuses to their top people, that comes out of what they've "skimmed" off the top of the money we pay them. Take your choice.

Of course there is a bonus to the Republicans, that is that the insurance companies make donations to Republican candidates who favor the "free market" approach, thus putting tax money to uses none of the taxpayers intended.
+4 # Guest 2010-05-11 09:27
Right on Dave! It is so nice to see this expressed so succinctly sp? I ask my self what part of government don't we need? How about the Food and Drug Administration so we can all chow down on mad cow? And what part of the Government Sponsored Health Care don't the Republican Congressmen like? Why don't they drop theirs and give us the chance? thanks Dave Rowland
+4 # Guest 2010-05-11 09:29
We need Big Government to control all the other "Bigs," (read "big" power, "big" greed), like BIG oil, BIG Wall Street, BIG insurance, BIG Pharma.

We now need our BIG GOVERNMENT (Congress and the White House) to do the job we need it to do. Until we can remove BIG influence on our elected representatives (campaign finance reform) we'll have trouble getting our elected officials to respond to US!
+2 # Guest 2010-05-12 15:11
That all depends on your point of view. If you belong to one of those "Bigs" you just mentioned, the last thing you want is someone (Big Government) stopping your shell game.

Now if you are a normal citizen, who actually works for a living, then you take the other view and have no problem whatsoever with "Big Government."
+8 # Guest 2010-05-11 10:07
Yes! End those "temporary" Bush I tax cuts for the rich and have the regulatory agencies start regulating again instead of being retirement posts for corporate bigwigs and family friends and pony club buddies of the President.

And how is this mess of a health care "system" better than the single-payer medicare so many other countries are so happy with?
-15 # paperpushermj 2010-05-11 10:09
Mr Corn I can't adequately respond to your question within
such a limiting forum so put your thinking cap on and ponder this. THE BIGGER THE GOVERNMENT, THE SMALLER THE CITZEN.
-1 # Guest 2010-05-13 20:31
+6 # Guest 2010-05-11 10:25
Governments, like other entities and various anatomical parts, should be judged on their functionality, not on their size. Sadly, even with the other party now in control, it doesn't appear as if government has gotten more functional.
+7 # Guest 2010-05-11 11:04
I would like some of the libertarians and tea partiers to explain how this country managed to survive a 52% corporate tax rate and a 90% marginal tax rate during the 1950s and how our current much lower rates are so destructive now?

I know the answer but I await a novel explanation by those who are certain that low or no taxes are the best way to build and maintain a civilization.
-5 # paperpushermj 2010-05-11 21:19
Kalpal: The answer is that those taxes were not payed. There were more tax shelters and dodges then you could shake a stick at. Every time the tax burden is reduced the economy booms. This is not rocket science People with money in their pocket are the engine for a robust economy.
+2 # Guest 2010-05-12 15:12
Not in this universe, it doesn't. Remember that after Clinton raised taxes, the economy boomed and after Bush cut taxes, the economy stayed in the doldrums.
-1 # Guest 2010-05-13 01:02
Just whose economy boomed paperpushermj? Mine hasn't, and while the wealthy pay just a fraction of what they used to, I don't see a dam dime of their trickling down, nor any new jobs, nor any investment in the infrastructure or anything like that. The dogs on top buying all the yachts they want won't make a dam bit of difference to our economy, or hadn't you figured that one out yet.
+3 # Guest 2010-05-11 18:48
Corporations got the government they paid for. The rest of us are on our own
+1 # paperpushermj 2010-05-11 22:05
X Dane: Could the same be said for Public Service Unions: Example SEIU, Teachers Unions.
+2 # Guest 2010-05-12 01:20
I quite agree with the article. Big government is not the problem, government that is unresponsive to the electorate is the problem. Until the conservative onslaught that started with RR, there was adequate food and drug inspection, regulation of financial markets, decent public education, (including the CA university system, which was quite inexpensive), workplace safety enforcement, I could go on and on. When RR advocated smaller gov't he meant gov't that didn't interfere in any way with corporations, no matter they pollute the environment and sicken and endanger the populace. As Greg Palast says, we have the best government that money can buy. Unfortunately big corporations have lots of money to buy governments with. We need to get money out of politics if we want better government.
+1 # Guest 2010-05-13 09:55
Tea Partiers try to say they are against "BAD" Government, but don't realize that the reforms they are pushing are "bad". De-regulation in almost any sector has been a disaster. The government getting out of the way of Corporate interests is a BAD idea. It simply doesn't work as a policy. Tax cuts for the rich is a BAD idea. The wealth inequality in the country is horrible and getting worse. The Tea Party is right to protest BAD government, but they seem to have no idea what BAD government is.

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