Monday, February 27, 2017

The Problem of the Welfare State

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

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