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The Size and Function of the Federal Government Essay


In the 2010 midterm elections, the federal government’s size and function have been the common topic of debate among politicians in their election campaigns.

Liberals see the federal government as essential to America’s growth and well being. It should be large enough to protect its people from foreign threats, regulate businesses to avoid unfair competition and help the less fortunate citizens. Conservatives on the other hand argue that the federal government has already grown too big that it has become costly, consuming most of the US budget. They believe that the institution should limit their involvement and leave tasks to private entities and non-profit organizations.

This paper aims to evaluate the arguments of liberals and conservatives in determining if the US needs a bigger federal government. According to liberals, the federal government is vital in the growth of the United States because they provide infrastructures, education and healthcare mostly to support the poor and the society as a whole. Such investments could not have been adequately undertaken by private institutions because their scope is usually limited to that within their interests.

Government support is primarily required in building roads and facilitating educational and healthcare systems and structures (McKenna and Feingold 238). The federal government serves as a coordinator in harmonizing systems such as railroad, water and highway structures. The government standardized the railroad systems when different sizes of tracks were used. They also created economies of scale when they organized communities to use a single public water system.

Among others, the government was also involved in managing synchronized systems for highways and international trade and currency valuation (McKenna and Feingold 238). Lastly, the federal government imposes regulations which often make economies work better. The federal government was able to make product and service information more open, reduce corruption, monopolistic pricing and anticompetitive policies through regulations.

They were also able to temper financial regulations (McKenna and Feingold 238). The controversial key benefit of the Post World War II government is it makes the economy more stable by creating jobs and supporting incomes. In this scenario, unemployment insurances, Social Security and government employments are stabilizing factors (McKenna and Feingold 239).

On the other hand, conservatives give emphasis on the protection of freedom which should be guarded by both public and private institutions against the concentration of power. Freedom is destroyed because other institutions are weakened by the presence of the federal government for power is concentrated on the latter. The federal government dominates and diminishes the role of other institutions (McKenna and Feingold 242).

In downsizing the federal government, governors and state legislatures can take control of education, healthcare, transportation and other services, giving citizens more independence from the federal government. At the state and federal level, business leaders can unite around common goals to lessen corporate taxes, duplicative regulations and lawsuits. The growth of the federal government must be restrain because of its unsound levels of spending and debt.

This may result in the financial collapse of the government and private sector’s economic structures (McKenna and Feingold 245). Studies show that economic growth occurs when government spending is on the 20 percent or below GDP range but over the years as government spending increased, exceeding the 20 percent GDP, the US economy had slowed down and declined (McKenna and Feingold 246).

Congress should take responsibility in the country’s problems such as the nation’s debt, out of control spending and loose monetary policies which are creating economic insecurity. Unrestrained government spending and debt may result to the neglecting of national priorities such as defence, devaluation of the US dollar, destruction of private-sector economy and the loss of wealth and quality of life for all Americans (McKenna and Feingold 247).

The government is an essential institution for the development and protection of freedom but it should not try to manage America because they are only there to make the rules and enforce them.

The federal government has been trying to manage and control many aspects of America’s economy and social services which always results to disaster. It has put America on an unstable financial course with its uncontrollable spending and huge debt. Both liberal and conservative parties have clearly stated and defended their opinions on the case of the enlargement of the US federal government.

Analyzing and evaluating both sides, I conclude that the United States of America should broaden the scope and functions of the federal government because, although they are not perfect, they outline systems of rules and regulations which are clear in helping the growth of the country especially through infrastructures, education, healthcare and economic reforms. Conservatives may argue that such tasks can also be done by governors and other private entities.

The concern here is that these groups may not provide consistent support in executing such tasks for they will always weigh and base their decisions on their own interests. In the 2010 midterm election the incumbents have been defeated because of the bad economy. Republicans were re-re-elected and democratic incumbents lost in record numbers. During midterm elections voters tend to punish the president’s party because of their dissatisfaction of economic performance (O’Connor, Sabato and Yanus 361).

Works Cited

McKenna, George and Feingold, Stanley. Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Political Issues. 17th ed. New York: McGraw Hill. 2011. Print.

O’Connor, Karen, Sabato, Larry J., and Yanus, Alexandra B. Essentials of American Government: Roots and Reform. United States: Pearson Education, Inc., 2011. Print.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "The Size and Function of the Federal Government." January 18, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-size-and-function-of-the-federal-government/.


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