Like it says in our nation's founding documents, we have a right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Why should the government do the things it does, and when should it get out of the way of the people? American democracy is at its best when the two parties engage in rigorous, good-faith debate about the answer to this question.
Here's my answer: to help “form a more perfect Union” and to remove barriers to our pursuit of happiness.
Sometimes, Americans can well pursue happiness in certain respects when we have the freedom to do things on our own. I don't need a federal official chaperoning me while I fish in our public parks, and I don't want the government in my bedroom.
Other times, coordinating policy and programs at a bigger level leads to better results. Ask any union member. I've stood with working people and unions for decades, and they can tell you the power of numbers for securing good pay and good benefits. I will pursue larger-scale solutions only when they're the best way to provide opportunity for all to enjoy a better quality of life.