Two weeks ago The New York Times reported that Republicans "want a vastly smaller government." Last week the Times called the dispute about raising the federal debt ceiling "an epic clash over the parties' divergent views on the size and role of the federal government." This week it said President Obama faces "a conservative movement seeking a wholesale redefinition of the proper role of government." The recent debt deal, widely portrayed as a victory for Republicans, suggests their goals are decidedly less ambitious. As always in Washington, the "epic clash" perceived by the Times is in fact a squabble between two parties that both favor big government. The debt deal, which authorizes the federal government to borrow another $2.1 trillion on top of the $14.3 trillion it already owes, supposedly includes "$2.5 trillion in cuts." But as Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) emphasizes, those are cuts from a projected baseline in which the national debt grows by $10 trillion during the next decade, which means "the BEST case scenario is still $7 trillion more in debt over the next 10 years." Kinda Cuts - Reason Magazine .