But the concern that I have, and what most people who think like me have, is the poor implementation/corruption of these programs.
Nobody would disagree that any human institution is susceptible to corruption: it's true of governments and churches, certainly very true of corporations (which are set up to incentivize corruption), also true of banks and of unions.
However. When it comes to government programs, I'm wary of claims about their "poor implementation/corruption," to be frank. Myth-making about the supposed Soviet-esque levels of corruption of the public sector has been a conservative pastime since time immemorial, and is by now drowned in so much bullshit that a lot of work is going to be needed to separate the good claims from the bad. Where genuine
corruption exists, the "small government" proponent has the added challenge of having to explain why the solution should be to eliminate the program (which is usually what "small government" is code for) instead of just fixing it.
Obviously there are genuine
examples of waste and corruption, however, that should be eliminated; it's just that they mostly occur among defense contractors and associated business -- the outrageous corruption that characterized the "rebuilding of Iraq" is a perfect example -- whom far too few conservatives or liberals for that matter are actually willing to target. Which mostly means that talk about "poor implementation of government programs" boils down to endlessly trying to figure out how to trim yet more nonexistent "fat" off the American (or Canadian) welfare state. And that side-effect of the "small government" meme needs to stop.
The same goes for unions. Your average union is not Hoffa Senior's Teamsters and I'm pretty sick of the fiction that they can fairly and honestly be discussed in this way, particularly when far, far, far
more damaging and powerful actors have vastly surpassed any union actor in the corruption sweepstakes.
As far as banks go, the world's governments have been left trying to prop up a ghost of the old financial order in the wake of the 2008 collapse. I think you're right to be suspicious of the use of taxpayer dollars for that purpose, but that has nothing to do with the "size" of government. It has to do with whether government should be bailing out the criminals who created the financial crisis instead of jailing them, forbidding them to trade on a market ever again and putting stronger regulations in place to boost real confidence in the financial system. There isn't an easy answer to this kind of question -- I understand, even if I disagree with, the political calculus that has led to the EU and US' current efforts to muddle through -- but one thing I feel pretty confident about is that there is no solution to be found in doubling down on the "small government" meme that created
the irresponsible and deregulated financial sector that crashed the economy.
What Callie says above about "right-sizing" sounds right to me. Except I wouldn't even call it "right-sizing;" it's more a matter of "it's not size that matters, it's how you use it."