Is The Right For Smaller Government?

On Aug. 27, 2013, Dennis Prager wrote a point he’s made a thousand times that is not in fact true: “The essence of the American right, after all, is less government…” Dennis never provides much evidence for this assertion.

We have abundant evidence of what happens when the right comes to power (such as presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan and the two Bushes), in the US and elsewhere, and it no more tends to smaller government than the left. The right talks about smaller government more than the left does but it rarely does anything more about it. The right prefers to spend on the military and the left prefers to spend on welfare, but spend they both like to do equally. And how do you define smaller government? As a percentage of GNP? As state power over federal power? As reduced intervention overseas? The left generally prefers less US intervention overseas while the right usually favors more.

Report: “Government spending at the start of the 20th century was less than 7 percent of GDP. It vaulted to almost 30 percent of GDP by the end of World War I, and then settled down to 10 percent of GDP in the 1920s. In the 1930s spending doubled to 20 percent of GDP. Defense spending in World War II drove overall government spending over 50 percent of GDP before declining to 22 percent of GDP in the late 1940s. The 1950s began a steady spending increase to about 36 percent of GDP by 1982. In the 1990s and 2000s government spending stayed about constant at 33-35 percent of GDP, but in the aftermath of the Crash of 2008 spending has jogged up to 40 percent of GDP.” This massive increase in government spending as a percentage of the GNP over 100 years has been little affected by the right or left orientation of the party in power.

Since the rise of the Tea Party in 2009, however, the Republican party has shifted towards diminishing federal spending while Democrats push for more federal spending.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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