...and another unserious one.Unserious would be me making fun of your name. You'll notice I didn't do that.
First, I’m not part of “The Right.”And yet, you share the Right's obsession with Big Government.
Second, I do believe in a basic set of night watchman and public goods responsibilities to be legitimate functions of government.But only those functions are legitimate. Why only those functions? Is there a libertarian Grand Unified Theory of Legitimate Functions of Government? Am I correct in assuming that government becomes bad when it steps outside of those specific functions?
At any rate, your original post didn't deal with the question of which functions of government were legitimate -- it dealt, very simply, with how big and expensive government was. Which leads us to the point I was making: if you think that an arbitrarily large government is too large, that means that small government is better than big government, which means that less government is better than more government, which means that government is bad.
Third, I didn’t argue that all government is inherently bad.But that's the fundamental assumption underlying libertarianism. See above.
I asked for liberals to define an upper limit on how much government is too much, using some fairly common metrics. Presumably, most leftists want more government than we have now. And presumably, most leftists would stop well short of advocating a totalitarian or Soviet-style communist state. I’m asking them to give a rough estimate of where they’d place their boundaries.Which brings us to the core of my response: you can't use numbers to arbitrarily define how much government is too much. You state that some functions of government are legitimate and some are not, but then you ask liberals to define "too much government" in terms of numbers rather than functions.
So that, in short, is my response: you're asking the wrong question. The question you should be asking liberals is "What functions of government do you define as illegitimate?"
Finally, what exactly does “all the things people want to pay for” mean? Anything anyone wants at any time, government should pay for? Anything a majority of voters want? Anything a majority of the Congress wants?Functionally, it means anything a majority of Congress plus the president wants, or else anything a two-thirds supermajority of Congress wants. Subject to a later determination of constitutionality by a majority of the Supreme Court.
If a majority of Congress or a majority of voters decided tomorrow that the federal government should buy everyone in the country a free ice cream cone each Tuesday, would that be an appropriate reason to raise taxes?Sure. The function of government is to allocate scarce resources. If, to use your deliberately silly example, the elected representatives of the people decide that our precious national ice cream reserves ought to be allocated via weekly free ice cream cones, then taxes are the logical way to to fund that allocation (unless you're a Republican, in which case borrowing money from Red China is the logical way to fund it).