Are all the programs in the table above perfectly designed and operated? Of course not. Is every dollar spent by state/local governments necessary? No. Nevertheless, when I look at this breakdown of government spending, most of what I see are vital and/or generally popular programs that serve an impressively wide variety of public needs. Many people may be wary of “government” as a concept, but they like the public services it provides.
The usual conservative response at this point is: "Well, there's waste in all of these!" or "We should just cut across the board!"So, when you hear people speak about our monstrous, catastrophically incompetent government and how we need to dismantle it, pull up this table and ask them to point out which specific programs they’re talking about. Then ask them to take a look at how much they cost, and to weigh that against the cost of not having them.
Neither of which is a real answer. By the way, the chart does not include "tax expenditures," the real source of waste, fraud, and abuse in our government.