Never Enough: America's Limitless Welfare State

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Overview

"William Voegeli has taken up conservatism's primal mission---deconstructing the liberal welfare state---from a fresh perspective, understanding that the liberal project is unbound by limiting goals. This understanding, in turn, allows for real insight into why conservatism never has, and likely never will, succeed in rolling back government. Never Enough is a penetrating piece of analysis, and a most valuable contribution to the political conversation." "---Peter .J. Boyer, staff writer for The New Yorker since 1992" "Bill Voegeli's insightful and well crafted book explains why Americans are at once dissatisfied with their welfare state yet apparently willing to see it grow without limit, and also why the long-running debate between liberals and conservatives over the welfare state has produced ever more confusion about who should benefit and who should pay for government programs. Voegeli, however, manages to frame this argument in a new way and to show how liberals and conservatives can get beyond their fruitless debates in order to place the American welfare state on a more effective and affordable footing. Never Enough is that rare book that makes a new contribution to an old debate and has something important to say to both liberals and conservatives." "---James Pierson, President of the William E. Simon Foundation and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute" "William Voegeli may be the most valuable, engaging and original critic of liberalism writing today. I have been waiting for him to write this book for years. No serious student of contemporary political life will regret their investment in this profound yet eminently accessible work. Never Enough answers questions most people struggle even to articulate." "---Jonah Goldberg, author of Liberal Fascism" "Never Enough is a nonpolemical critique of progressive, conservative, and libertarian visions of the welfare state: 'always more,' 'always less,' and 'none at all.' Contending that all three are untenable, William Voegeli offers a highly informative and lucid account of the political and ideological struggles that led to and perpetuate our current unsustainable welfare polices. Beware: whether or not you buy his 'Pax Voegeli' compromise, this book will compel you to clarify and wrestle with your own vision of the welfare state." "---Randy E. Barnett. author of Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty" "Every problem deserves a program': this is a driving liberal impulse that has exponentially increased the size and scope of government, giving rise to the never-enough, prosperity-stifling state. In this new book, which channels the realistic spirit of Irving Kristol, William Voegeli argues that the welfare state isn't going to wither away---but we can make it leaner, more effective, and less kleptocratic. An essential work in the development of a twenty-first century conservatism." ---Brlan C. Anderson. Editor. City Journal; author of South Park Conservatives.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“William Voegeli has taken up conservatism’s primal mission – deconstructing the liberal welfare state – from a fresh perspective, understanding that the liberal project is unbound by limiting goals. This understanding, in turn, allows for real insight into why conservatism never has, and likely never will, succeed in rolling back government. Never Enough is a penetrating piece of analysis, and a most valuable contribution to the political conversation.”

— Peter J. Boyer, Staff writer for The New Yorker since 1992

"Bill Voegeli's insightful and well crafted book explains why Americans are at once dissatisfied with their welfare state yet apparently willing to see it grow without limit, and also why the long running debate between liberals and conservatives over the welfare state has produced ever more confusion about who should benefit and who should pay for government programs. Voegeli, however, manages to frame this argument in a new way and to show how liberals and conservatives can get beyond their fruitless debates in order to place the American welfare state on a more effective and affordable footing. Never Enough is that rare book that makes a new contribution to an old debate and has something important to say to both liberals and conservatives."

— James Piereson, President of the William E. Simon Foundation and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute

“William Voegeli may be the most valuable, engaging and original critic of liberalism writing today. I have been waiting for him to write this book for years. No serious student of contemporary political life will regret their investment in this profound yet eminently accessible work. Never Enough answers questions most people struggle even to articulate.”

— Jonah Goldberg, Author of Liberal Fascism

“Never Enough is a nonpolemical critique of progressive, conservative, and libertarian visions of the welfare state: ‘always more,’ ‘always less,’ and ‘none at all.’ Contending that all three are untenable, William Voegeli offers a highly informative and lucid account of the political and ideological struggles that led to and perpetuate our current unsustainable welfare policies. Beware: whether or not you buy his ‘Pax Voegeli’ compromise, this book will compel you to clarify and wrestle with your own vision of the welfare state.”

— Randy E. Barnett, Author of Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty

“’Every problem deserves a program’: this is a driving liberal impulse that has exponentially increased the size and scope of government, giving rise to the never-enough, prosperity stifling state. In this new book, which channels the realistic spirit of Irving Kristol, William Voegeli argues that the welfare state isn't going to wither away – but we can make it leaner, more effective, and less kleptocratic. An essential work in the development of a twenty-first century conservatism. “

— Brian C. Anderson, Editor, City Journal; author of South Park Conservatives

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594033766
  • Publisher: Encounter Books
  • Publication date: 5/11/2010
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author


William Voegeli is a visiting scholar at the Henry Salvatori Center at Claremont McKenna College, and a contributing editor to The Claremont Review of Books. His reviews and articles have also appeared in City Journal, First Things, In Character, the Los Angeles Times, National Review, and The New Criterion. From 1988 to 2003 he was a program officer at the John M. Olin Foundation. He lives in Claremont, CA.
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Table of Contents

Foreword

Introduction The Search for Sufficiency 1

Chapter One America's Welfare State in Numbers 14

Chapter Two America's Welfare State in Theory 56

Chapter Three Liberalism's Continuing Inability to Make Sense 94

Chapter Four Liberalism's Continuing Inability to Make Payroll 154

Chapter Five Conservatism's Continuing Inability to Make a Difference 202

Conclusion Where do Progressives Want to Progress to and What do Conservatives Want to Conserve? 272

Acknowledgments 281

Notes 283

Index 311

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