"Public policy was not a high-minded nor even an ideological endeavor, but simply a potpourri of parochial claims proffered by private interests parading in governmental dress. Much of the vast enterprise of American government was invalid, suspect, malodorous. Its projects and ministrations were not spawned from higher principles, or even humanitarian sentimentality; they were simply the flotsam and jetsam of flagrantly promiscuous politics, the booty and spoils of organized thievery conducted within the desecrated halls of government." -- David Stockman in "The Triumph of Politics: How the Reagan Revolution Failed" (1986)
Stockman was Reagan's first budget director and actually labored mightily to try to reduce the cost of government, but also talked to reporters while on the job and had to be "taken to the woodshed. But he had a pretty good fix on the essence of American politics back then -- and of course things have mostly gotten worse since then.