Because it's big, our federal government has always been an easy target. When the price of fuel goes up, when there is a coal mine disaster, when children are inadequately educated, it is the federal government that, somehow or other, ends up shouldering the blame.
President Obama is an easy victim here, because he has accepted that he is responsible for the welfare of the country. Entirely. Gulf spill? Unemployment? Global climate change? If the man isn't fixing it, he needs to be drummed out of office.
What he needs to do is to start holding the people responsible for the state of the country. Including the voters, but especially corporations. (The media is also responsible, but I'd be willing to let Jon Stewart handle that.)
We may be spending an insane amount on the wars that George W. Bush screwed up, but a big part of those dizzying numbers is the graft of the corporations that supply everything from arms to food to mercenary guards and soldiers.
The cost of health care of course is primarily insurance industry profits, but there are also pharmaceutical companies and durable equipment (wheelchairs for example) manufacturers plundering government coffers.
And we can't stop it because these big industries pay far more to lobbyists to bargain (buy off) legislators, to prevent our government from pursuing the most efficient, cost-effective plan.
Indeed, regulation is constantly under attack by corporate lobbying, and has been since Reagan began to strip regulatory agencies in the name of good business in the eighties. And now we have Susan Dudley, among other conservative defenders of "small government", i.e. unregulated industry, complaining about the cost of regulation. Dudley was W's controversial appointment to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs; she infamously opposed the EPA's 2008 analysis of ways to control greenhouse gasses.
Susan Dudley is one member of the huge conservative army determined to take the federal government apart, one bill or regulation at a time. Tax cuts followed by demands to reduced the deficit, underfunded education followed by thunderous accusations that public education does not work, and the anticipated upcoming effort to defund Obama's health care law are just a few of the many many ways the right wing will continue to provide "proof" to voters that government is bad. It has to be -- it's the way they want it.