I do not believe that the problem is either of these. There are two major problems in the US today that relate to this.
First, we cannot agree on whether we want more government or less. The country is badly divided on this issue and so we cannot reach a consensus of any sort.
That leads to the second problem, which is that we seem to end up getting more government without being willing to pay for it. The government ends up doing what is easiest. It gives in to demands for more government but at the same time, gives in to demand for lower taxes. We end up getting more government while trying to pay less for it.
We need to decide whether we truly want more government (enough to pay higher taxes) or if we want lower taxes (and will accept the loss of government services). We can't have it both ways forever.