Republican ideologues are fighting a new cold war. Their enemy is the “corrosive liberal ethos” and the government that it supports. They believe that Ronald Reagan and George Bush failed, because government, or some semblance of it, still exists. This is unacceptable because government, as conservative writer David Frum puts it, “makes the social problems that conservatives fret about so intractable.” Behind their fervor is a belief that this may be their last chance to do away with the welfare state.
How severely did Reagan damage the welfare state? How does the new Republican agenda contained in the “Contract With America” go beyond Reagan?
The American welfare state developed in two p...
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