This fragility of tumescent government is what many otherwise thoughtful commentators fail to notice. They think that we can solve our problems with a value-added tax (VAT) or with a fiscal reform commission.

Instead, I believe that the problem is structural. American government will not be stable and sustainable until it is broken up and most of its functions are devolved, so that spending decisions are decentralized. A robust society would have more public goods delivered by the voluntary associations that Tocqueville noticed were characteristic of America. These associations are much more numerous and diverse than our governmental units.

via Size, Scope, and Fragility, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty.