No. Big government is definitely not a way for a nation to thrive. When a government places it's hand in too much, everything that could be considered an advancement is held up in government red tape, or subject to the rallying of lobbyists. When government takes a step back and allows the private sector to innovate, good things happen.
Big government hires a lot of people who spend money in a consumer-based economy. However, big government is bad for private sector jobs. The U.S. government has a conundrum--they must shrink the size of government, yet doing so will cost jobs at defense contractors such as Boeing and the like. Cutting subsidies to big oil would also reduce employment at smaller oil companies. A free market economy works with little to no involvement from government, and it is private sector jobs that key job growth in all areas.