Adam Ozimek rejects the "small government" and "big government" dichotomy:
I’d like in some cases more government, like a carbon tax, but I’m also not okay with that being used as a revenue prop for the status quo of way-too-inefficient policies that we do have. I’d like the government to spend money efficiently subsidizing and incentivizing effective early childhood education, but can’t bring myself to let government take more money and become a larger player in education until they stop doing the things they already do so poorly.
I think in the whole I would be comfortable with a fairly large amount government spending that was efficient and effective. In part I’d be ok with this because in the long-run, my small fantasy is that a successful government should make itself less necessary. If we got early childhood education up through high school working really really well, I think government would be able to roll itself back significantly in a lot ways, from prisons to welfare. With efficient and robust safety nets and a dynamic and healthy economy we could arrive at a place where who are poor are very likely to have chosen such a state, and so we don’t have to have the impossible, expensive, and sisyphean task of preventing all poverty.
Some, perhaps much, of this, I understand, is wishful thinking.
And yet so immeasurably sane.