The U.S. government's deepest darkest secret is that it can't do anything without overwhelming popular support. The Feds are weak. They couldn't keep draft dodgers in jail, can't keep spam out of e-mail, they can't kill Grandma, and they can't keep talk radio from scaring people.
Over and over we've turned the government's behavior on a dime. Which means the government we have is an average approximation of the government we want, or at least the government we don't mind having around.
The government twists in our wind. The overwhelming power and responsibility over our government scares us, so instead we believe the lie that we're the victim of government, which is less painful than two hundred years of proof that our government is the victim of us.
And compared to other countries the U.S. Government functions with almost no employees. In France one out of fourteen people have a federal job. If one out of fourteen Americans had a federal job we'd be planting crops in the desert and there'd be a 7-Eleven on the moon.