Grover Cleveland once asked, “If the government supports the people, who will support the government?” His meaning was this: The government is wholly dependent upon tax receipts (or occasionally other types of payments) for its revenues. It is a nonsensical reversal of roles for the people to be dependent upon the government for their material well-being. To put it yet another way, the government produces no goods; rather it consumes some portion of the goods taken from the people. It can only play a larger role by increasing the portion that it takes and thus reducing the amount available to people generally. Cleveland’s question still wants a satisfactory answer, but a welfare state has been established based upon the premise that government will provide for a vast assortment of material and other needs.
Clarence B. Carson, A Basic History of the United States, Volume 5: The Welfare State 1929-1985, pg.1