Americans tend to believe that their country is very different from Europe. Yet over the past half century they have imported and embraced the most transformative social idea of modern Scandinavia: egalitarianism. Today, the United States is more like Sweden than it is different, dedicated to economic redistribution and to vigorously defending its big government. What price, morally and economically, are today’s Americans willing to pay to preserve their egalitarian welfare state? Are they willing to turn life into a fiscal cost item? Will they sacrifice their children’s future prosperity to defend their entitlements?
The Rise of Big Government: How Egalitarianism Conquered America pursues the answer to these questions by going back to the ideological origins of the modern, egalitarian welfare state. Specifically, the book asks why this unity has been able to set such deep roots in the United States, a country that is often perceived as fundamentally different when it comes to the role of government in the economy. It is shown that there are more similarities than differences between the welfare state in the United States and its Swedish "template."
This book is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding how the egalitarian ideology conquered the United States, and who seeks to gain a deeper understanding of its strength, its resiliency, and the problems it faces in the future.
About the Author
Sven R. Larson is an American political economist and policy analyst. His research, which is published in peer-review journals and by free-market think tanks, covers fiscal policy, the welfare state and the application of economic freedom. He is the author of Industrial Poverty (Gower, 2014) about the role of the welfare state in the European economic crisis.
Table of Contents
1 The problem 1
2 Where it all started 5
3 The Swedish roots of the American welfare state 20
4 Exporting egalitarianism to America 47
5 Problem 1: Fiscal Eugenics 60
6 Problem 2: Slow Growth 79
7 Problem 3: Government Debt 102
8 Conclusion 122