The American welfare state is in a profound crisis, and not just because the affably mean, pragmatic ideologue who is president of the United States is destroying some of the most important gains ever made by the people of the United States. That is merely one more sign of a historic turning point: the end of the second stage of the welfare state in this country, and the beginning of the battle over the third stage.
The first stage lasted from 1933 to 1939 when Franklin Roosevelt, with consummate political skills and little conceptual sense of what he was doing, improvised a series of responses to the Great Depression. America was thereby dragged into the 20th century, about 50 years after Bismarck and 30 after Lloyd George. Unemp...
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