Radley Balko asks "lefty" bloggers ("lefty" being a term that includes everyone from Max Baucus to Che Guevara) how much government is too much.
The problem with Balko's question is that the underlying premise is false. As a libertarian, Balko accepts the idea expressed by Ronald Reagan that "government is the problem". Therefore, all government is bad, and therefore, government is always too big, and too expensive.
The Right's obsession with "big government" is a red herring, and always has been. The choice is, and always has been, between good government and bad government. As a libertarian, Balko believes that "good government" is a contradiction in terms, so he's reduced to arguing that since government is inherently bad, less government is better than more government.
If you reject Balko's unstated premise that government is always bad, then the answer to his question is pretty simple. Government should be big enough to do all the things the people want it to do, but no bigger. Taxes should be high enough to pay for all the things people want to pay for, but no higher.
Next question, please?