The Case for Big Government by Jeff Madrick
For the last 30 years, “big government” has been a term of abuse in this country. But with Barack Obama headed for the White House, and solid Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, that may change. Even before November’s election, the federal government had begun to engorge itself in frenzied response to Wall Street’s autumn meltdown. Within a matter of weeks, the purportedly conservative Bush administration nationalized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, plowed hundreds of billions of public dollars into private financial institutions, and began drawing up plans for a twelve-digit stimulus package. Big government, it seems, is poised for a comeback.
To Jeff Madrick, an unapologetic proponent of tax-and-spend policies and a former consultant to Senator Ted Kennedy, all this comes as a golden opportunity. “Without an active government,” he writes in his boldly titled new book, “a nation cannot respond adequately to its times”—and especially to perilous times like these. Beset by increased international competition, wage and income stagnation, rising costs of living, and an aging population, Americans must shed their “ideological antagonism” toward state power and recapture the ambitious spirit of FDR.
About the Author
Jonathan Kay is managing editor for comment at Canada’s National Post.