Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Preface

Jeff Madrick

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pp. vii-x

Just after he was elected president in 2008, Barack Obama called for a bipartisan deficit commission to develop a set of recommendations to restore “fiscal responsibility” to the nation. At the time, the budget deficit of 10 percent had alarmed the country and balancing the budget became a national goal. Reducing the...

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Chapter One. Can Government Help?

Lane Kenworthy, Jeff Madrick

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pp. 1-33

The size of government is the most fundamental axis of political disagreement in the United States. It has played a significant role since the Jeffersonian era and has been at the heart of American politics for the past eighty years, since the New Deal programs of the 1930s. It won’t fade from prominence any time soon...

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Chapter Two. Are Government Social Programs Bad for Economic Growth?

Peter Lindert

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pp. 34-66

Adam Smith wrote his famous defense of the free market in an age when governments were still tiny by today’s standards, yet he devoted considerable thought to the proper role of government. Those who cite him as the ultimate champion of small government have overlooked, knowingly or not, much of what he wrote...

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Chapter Three. Would a Bigger Government Hurt the Economy?

Jon Bakija

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pp. 67-134

If the United States is going to meet the rising costs of promised government retirement benefits and health care for the elderly while doing more to promote economic security, equality of opportunity, and shared prosperity, it will eventually need to increase taxes. Is this the best solution, or should we scale back...

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Chapter Four. Thinking Sensibly about the Size of Government

Lane Kenworthy

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pp. 135-144

Although America’s self-image and international reputation are as a nation of limited government—of laissez-faire—government has been intimately involved in the economy throughout the country’s history.1 Some government efforts have helped the economy grow. Others have helped ensure that economic...

Notes

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pp. 145-170

References

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pp. 171-198

Index

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pp. 199-208