Policies come and go, and so do arguments for and against them.
From the mid-19th century on down through the Cold War and beyond, conservatives in Europe and the United States made a series of arguments against what Americans like to call “big government.” In a recent New York Times column, conservative Bret Stephens made one of them: Joe Biden’s massive spending proposals may be appealing in certain ways, but there’s always a catch, always a trade-off, and never a free lunch. The creation of large and expensive new social-welfare programs is bound to diminish economic growth and dynamism, “transforming America into a kinder, gentler place of permanent decline.”
I’m not as concerned about this fate as Stephens is, mostly because I think the evidence he marshals for his case is pretty thin and mostly drawn from the single example of France. Lots of liberal democracies around the world have for many decades had stronger social safety nets than the U.S., and they haven’t all been in a state of continual decline. That implies that economic growth and government’s allocation of social goods can be compatible, at least in some times and places.
Though that disagreement isn’t why I think the …read more
Source:: The Week – Politics