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Why Conservatives Are Against Big Government

Updated on March 29, 2017
jackclee lm profile image

Jack is currently a volunteer at the Westchester County Archives. Before retiring, he worked at IBM for over 28 years.


Conservatives are generally against big government. It is one of the tenet of conservative philosophy. The reasons are many and I will explain my views. It may surprise you.

- Mar. 2017


There are many reasons why conservatives are against big government. The number one reason is that it is counter to the Constitution. Our Constitution is very clear. There are enumerated powers given to the Federal govnment, and all others are reserved for State and local governments.

Just because conservatives are against a particular program does not mean we don't want a solution. It is not a binary choice. You can be against a program such as food stamps and support a charity like Feeding America or Catholic Charities which does way more to help hunger.

The way to process this is simple. The Federal government is one of many agencies that intrudes on our lives. There is state and local agencies that serves many of the same function. For example, public education, is mainly a local function. The towns and cities have school boards which operates schools and have rules and regulations that fits their community. They raise taxes to pay for these services. They are in a better position to make decisions regarding their needs. Why do we need a Department of Education is Washingon DC? Think about it, if this department was disbanded tomorrow, how will it impact your children's education? The answer is not one thing.


In my own case, I am against big government programs because they don't work. In all fairness, if a program works as intended, I would have no problem with it. Unlike some ideolog, I am willing to forego the purity of conservatism, if the program actually works.

This is such an important point, it needs to be repeated. If a federal program works the way it was intended and it solves an existing problem, I will support it and I would pay for it out of my taxes.

The vast majority of federal programs are ineffective and full of fraud, waste, and abuse. In fact, some actually perpetuates the problem instead of making it better. Why would we pay for something that does not work, that is inefficient and that actually makes things worse?

Take One Example...

We are told by advertising that hunger in America is real. Commercials show how 1 in 6 American children goes to bed hungry. Senior has to make decision on whether to buy food or medicine which they need. How can that be?

Think about it. We have a huge budget that pays for food stamps or EBT. There are 43 million registered users. We are a generous country and we help our fellow citizens with all sorts of programs. How do you square the fact that the 3rd largest charity in America is Feeding America?

There are only two possible scenarios. One the EBT Program is a huge failure and despite the huge amount of tax dollars that goes into it, there are more people going hungry and a private non-profit agency is picking up the slack. Or, two, the charity is a fraud and they are raising money to pad the huge payroll of the employees and executives at this charitable organization.

I guess a third option is possible though extremely unlikely. We are not spending enough on EBT programs and a private charity is needed to supplement it. If we only spend more money on EBT and expand the program to include more people, hunger in America will be iradicated.

What is the truth? The government is a very poor administrator of the food stamp program. They allow for easy access and do not check where the money is spent. There are many incidences of fraud and abuse of the EBT system. By some estimate, it is as high as 25%. Think about it, if you are the owner of a business, any business, and you know 25% of your business is being stolen, what would be your reaction? Will you just accept it as part of doing business? Or will you try and stop it? Guess what, the government decided the EBT program is fine just the way it is.

Top Charities in USA


I just took one example but you can make a case for almost any government program, from the VA to the HUD, to the EPA and the IRS... They are all inefficient at best and full of abuse at worst. The reason is not hard to understand. The system has no accountability. There is no market competition and no incentive for the workers to improve. It is a bureacracy run amok.

I hope this hub makes it clear about my conservative position and why I am against big government. There are alternative solutions.

© 2017 Jack Lee


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    • profile image 

      23 months ago from upstate, NY

      "Why do we need a Department of Education is Washingon DC? Think about it, if this department was disbanded tomorrow, how will it impact your children's education? The answer is not one thing."

      I think that if the Department of Education were disbanded and the federal monopoly on education ended that state and local governments would be free to compete and produce much better educational outcomes.

      I also believe that most of these federal programs and many quasi state controlled programs exceed the true limits of the Constitution both literally and in spirit. Big government also creates a dangerous consolidation of federal power and takes away peoples Independence thereby coercing voters to rely on politicians (mostly liberal) to continue to provide for them.

    • jackclee lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Lee 

      24 months ago from Yorktown NY

      How did we survive before the war on poverty of Johnson? Before welfare...

      How is it that after 40 years, billions spent, we still have about the same percent of people in poverty?

      We are not saying just government over reach but government failure. Name one government program that has done well.

    • DICESI profile image


      24 months ago from New York

      That is an ideological dispute. However, I am not saying Government should create jobs. I am specifically saying that it is the government's job to ensure that their citizens are protected for poverty. That is why I believe Government cannot neglect the needs of its people simply because conservatives feel Government is overreaching. What is the alternative if jobs are not being created...leave their constituents in poverty? We need an economy that creates enough jobs that people are not dependent on government. If GOP and government cannot create jobs, then Trump should stop taking credit for jobs being created and stop saying their policies will create jobs. At some point, the GOP policies and statements must be more than contradictory rhetoric.

    • jackclee lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Lee 

      24 months ago from Yorktown NY


      It is not the job of a government to create jobs for everyone.

      In communist countries, everyone works... and everyone is equally poor. In a capitalist country, private sector create jobs and the people compete for those jobs based on their education and skills and training. There will be a small number who are unemployed or unable to work due to physical or mental disabilities. It is a compassionate society that takes care of the disabled and the elderly. Any other needs is best provided by private charities. They have the motive and the compassion to help. Remember, before our current welfare state, people had no problem surviving. They were take care of by churches and family members...

    • DICESI profile image


      24 months ago from New York

      I think big government is a necessity if you are not a country producing enough jobs to keep people out of poverty.

    • jackclee lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Lee 

      24 months ago from Yorktown NY

      I can't think of one. In my judgement, a program will be successful with 10% waste or maximum. Most charity organization use that as the gold standard. You should not spend more than 10% fund raising. Most charities also fall short of that. It just tells me that most charities are not well runned or are less needed. It is there to serve the administrators and not their clients. Private companies do better. They go out of business when the waste gets high.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      24 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I was just interested which Gov. program do you think works as intended?

      It is an interesting concept to consider a formula like - 50% waste and fraud/20% to those who need it/30% to bureaucracy. And then call that successful. Given our current state of affairs that might be reasonable. Just a thought.


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