Lets do a budget comparison.
The US federal budget for 2011 was $3.6 Trillion The total of all the state and local governments for 2011 was $3.2 trillion. (Source)
First of all, not those numbers are pretty close. Only about 5% difference. But wait a second. Social Security is a big part of the first one.
The three biggest expenditures for the federal government are: Defense (0.9 trillion), Healthcare (0.9 trillion - mostly Medicare and Medicaid), and Pensions (0.8 trillion - Social Security was 0.730 trillion, the rest was federal employee pension).
Let's back out the pensions which is mostly social security payments, because seniors spend it, not the bureaucrats. That brings us down to $2.7 trillion.
The three biggest expenditures for state and local governments are Education (0.9 trillion), Healthcare (0.6 trillion) Pensions (0.2 trillion ) and Welfare (0.2 trillion). Back out their pensions and that brings us to $3 trillion.
The state and local governments spend more money than the federal governments if you exclude pensions - which citizens spend, not the government.
When the states and local governments spend 11% more than the federal government does, it's not that hard to figure out which one is too big and which one is too small. Unless of course you are so foolish as to suggest cutting social security. Oh wait a second, the GOP is that foolish. They just like to hide it.
Americans like Social Security. Stop trying to get rid of the one government program that almost all Americans like. I'm not saying we need to make the federal government bigger, but....
If you have to downsize a government, downsize the states, leave the federal government alone.
Because when you suggest moving things from the Federal government to the States, you are just making the problem WORSE, not better.
The states are less efficient than the federal government. Their employee pool is smaller, and the worthwhile people graduate to federal government. They have less money and less power, less ethics, lower barriers to entry, and they have only one advantage.
The advantage is the absence of career politicians. It is also their biggest disadvantage. While it keeps people 'grounded', it also lets incompetent and/or corrupt people try to to run things.
Now, I'm not saying all state employees are corrupt and incompetent. Most are smart and most are loyal, honest people. But they are the silver medal winners, while the gold medalists go to the federal level pretty quickly.
Nor am I absolutely sure we can downsize the state governments. But I know one thing - we can't downsize the federal government - it's already smaller than the states.