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In Case You Missed It: Government Without Bounds

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Government Without Bounds: Taming the Welfare State
Book Forum

WASHINGTON, JUNE 24, 2010–As concerns mount over government spending and the national debt, a group of authors and experts gathered at AEI Thursday to discuss two new books about the fight to shrink government.

John Samples, author of The Struggle to Limit Government: A Modern Political History, outlined the rise of Big Government since the Progressive era and the unsuccessful campaign by conservatives to restore limited government. Christopher DeMuth (AEI) and Jonathan Rauch (National Journal) both spoke about the failure of supply-side conservatism and contended that tax cuts, in the absence of spending cuts, only make government spending appear more affordable, and thus more popular.

William Voegeli, author of Never Enough: America’s Limitless Welfare State, argued that conservatives should unite with neoliberals around the principle of limited government growth. Fred Siegel, a writer and self-professed “recovering liberal,” agreed and gave an account of the disastrous fiscal situation of his home state, New York. Charles Murray (AEI) discussed the importance of the four institutions–family, community, faith, and vocation–in citizens’ lives and how a return to the principles of limited government could strengthen and renew those domains.

  • “The welfare state is not just a dependent variable; it has become an independent variable. . . . Voters have come to a point where they have a strong sense of entitlement. And that sense of entitlement drives the growth of the state.”
    –John Samples, Author, The Struggle to Limit Government

  • “It’s not just that government and politics have changed since the pre-Roosevelt era, society has changed. [John] Samples argues that the subsidy state has in many ways corrupted American society and culture by getting them hooked on subsidies . . . but I think it’s at least as true and even more important that the causality goes in the other direction as well. . . . The subsidy state is a consequence of freedom, not a threat to it.”
    –Jonathan Rauch, National Journal

  • “The question is whether and how conservatives can take in homeless neoliberalism. . . . I think it’s time for conservatives to consider giving neoliberalism a home. Not out of pity, but in pursuit of our political and patriotic agenda.”
    –William Voegeli, Author, Never Enough
AEI