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Never Enough
  • Hardcover
  • 280 pages
  • ISBN: 1-59403-376-5
  • Published: 05/15/2010
  • List price: $23.95
  • Our price: $16.77
  • You save: $7.18 (30%)

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Also by William Voegeli

Never Enough: America’s Limitless Welfare State (Paperback)

Never Enough

America’s Limitless Welfare State

Since the beginning of the New Deal, American liberals have insisted that the government must do more – much more – to help the poor, to increase economic security, to promote social justice and solidarity, to reduce inequality and mitigate the harshness of capitalism. Nonetheless, liberals have never answered, or even acknowledged, the corresponding question: What would be the size and nature of a welfare state that was not contemptibly austere, that did not urgently need new programs, bigger budgets and a broader mandate?  Even though the federal government’s outlays on all the programs in its Human Resources category have, after adjusting for inflation and population growth, doubled every 18 years since 1940, liberal rhetoric is always addressed to a nation trapped in Groundhog Day, where every year is 1932, and where none of the existing welfare state programs that spend tens of billions of dollars matter, or even exist.

Never Enough explores the roots and consequences of liberals’ aphasia about the welfare state’s ultimate size.  It assesses what liberalism’s lack of a limiting principle says about the long-running argument between liberals and conservatives, and about the policy choices confronting America in a new century.  Never Enough argues that the failure to speak clearly and candidly about the welfare state’s limits has grave policy consequences.  It concludes that the worst result, however, is the way it has jeopardized the experiment in self-government by encouraging Americans to regard their government as a vehicle for exploiting their fellow-citizens, rather than as a compact for respecting one another’s rights and safeguarding future generations’ opportunities.