This is a common complaint and one with which I agree. However, it is very simplistic and says no more than what is pretty obvious. There is probably little or nothing we can do about it, but here are a few thoughts on how and why it got to be that way and why it is unlikely to get better. Generally, these things go unmentioned in civics classes. These comments expand on some I made recently in response to an article at Blogcritics.
Despite the claimed desire for less government, and the complaints about how poorly it does just about everything, there are constant demands for the government to fix problems. These demands all too often focus on the Federal government, and candidates for office rely heavily on their promises to make the U.S. Heaven on Earth in order to get elected. During the training process, a horse needs to be taught, “Don't just do something; stand there.” Politicians might profit from similar instruction; I have never heard a candidate promise to leave anything alone. Promises to “do something” are viewed as necessary to get elected, and quite often the candidate who makes the most effusive promises wins.
During FDR's New Deal, numerous “alphabet agencies” were created to pull the country out of a depression. Many of those agencies still exist, although their efforts to end the depression were largely ineffective. World War II was mainly responsible for ending the depression. The agencies not only continue to exist, they have “growed like Topsy” during the more than half century since their creation; they continue to do so, and it is at least questionable whether they do more to help the country than to harm it.
Most of the actual work done by the government is done by its Administrative Agencies. Let's look at how a typical agency works. I practiced communications law in Washington, D.C. for twenty years, and all of my clients had dealings with the Federal Communication Commission. That is the agency with which I am most familiar, and even though it was not created to end the Great Depression, it is typical in many respects of the other alphabet agencies. I should add that I retired twelve years ago, and so some of my observations may be dated; still, I think that not much has changed or ever will.