How We Got Government Off Our Backs

How We Got Government Off Our Backs

Remember candidate Ronald Reagan’s promise to “get the government off the backs of the great American people”? It was one of his most effective rhetorical thrusts in the 1980 television debates with Jimmy Carter. Spokespeople for the Administration have flourished the theme from time to time since, particularly when seeking to scuttle one government program or another. The president hit the same note in the 1985 State of the Union address, with his grandiose celebration of voluntary grass-roots action in place of government initiatives. For some, including people who should know better, these claims have had a plausible ring, as an invocation of the conservative theme of limited government.

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