A central claim of the Republican Party is that it is the small government political party. That claim is refuted by facts on the ground and in regard to when the GOP does believe in reducing spending and limiting enforcement of laws, it does so to the detriment of society.
The GOP has supported wide-spread surveillance, indefinite detention without trial, and extraordinary rendition. It has also supported subsidies for religious institutions — a clear violation of the concept of separation of church and state –government restrictions on immigration and free passage across international borders; government denial of collective bargaining rights for public sector workers; government attacks on public use of public space (assaults on the Occupy movement); government interference with the right of same-sex peoples to marry; government provision of extraordinarily lengthy imprisonment for drug possession; government interference with voters’ rights; and government restrictions on freedom of information.
The GOP does believe in small government when it comes to cutting taxes for the wealthy; limniting regulation of big business; gutting environmental regulations; weakening legal protections for workers and racial minorities; and slashing government funding for public education, public health and social welfare services.
Mitt Romney’s proposal to add $2 trillion to the projected 10-year spending on the Pentagon exemplifies the GOP’s romance with a bloated Pentagon; however, it does not stop there. This party’s claims of being the prime advocate of small government does not extend to the sprawling intelligence complex that has been created since 9/11, nor to the extensive security funding granted to the Department of Homeland Security.
The case made above does not excude the Democratic Party leadership from complicity in some of the positions described above — President Obama, for example, embraces all of the civil liberties retrictions enumerated above — the trust of this writing is to refute the claim that the Republican Party is the party of small government.
I am indebted to Professor Larry Wittner, who serves with me on the board of Peace Action, for much of the content above. Larry’s article can be read in the August 27, 2012 issue of History News Network.