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A Nation of Takers: America's Entitlement Epidemic Paperback – October 19, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Templeton Press; 1st edition (October 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599474352
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599474359
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #258,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Nicholas Eberstadt, a political economist and a demographer by training, holds the Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at American Enterprise Institute. He is also a senior adviser to the National Board of Asian Research, a member of the visiting committee at the Harvard School of Public Health, and a member of the Global Leadership Council at the World Economic Forum. He researches and writes extensively on economic development, foreign aid, global health, demographics, and poverty.
 
William A. Galston is a political theorist. He holds the Zilkha Chair in Governance at the Brookings Institution. In addition he is College Park Professor at the University of Maryland. He was a senior adviser to President Bill Clinton on domestic policy.

Yuval Levin is the Hertog Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, founding editor of National Affairs magazine, and a senior editor of EPPC's journal The New Atlantis. His areas of specialty include health care, entitlement reform, economic and domestic policy, science and technology policy, political philosophy, and bioethics. Mr. Levin served on the White House domestic policy staff under President George W. Bush focusing on health care as well as bioethics and culture-of-life issues. Mr. Levin previously served as Executive Director of the President's Council on Bioethics, and as a congressional staffer.


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Customer Reviews

The question is whether we Will do anything about it.
brant b geisler
His arguments are backed up by useful figures and graphs that make his points with clarity.
LARRY
The book is well written, brief, easy to understand and important.
Frederick P. Bartlett

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

109 of 128 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 3, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Within a lifetime, the nature of government and societies' expectations of it have fundamentally changed. Once the realm of local communities, responsibility for the care of those in need has been transferred to distant government. This rapid, radical change is unprecedented in human history and has resulted in a range of pathologies that undermine the foundation of our society. Things that can't go on forever stop. The question is how we avoid the catastrophic kind.

The book I wanted would have discussed this problem, its implications and potential solutions. This was not that book, though it came tantalizingly close at points before frustratingly veering away.

Instead, the short collection (144 pages) is a long data-heavy essay by American Enterprise Institute economist/demographer Nicholas Eberstadt followed by counter-points from each of Brookings Institute professor William Galston and former George W Bush White House adviser Yuval Levin. A final wrap up by Dr. Eberstadt closes the effort. It is a debate waged with compliments and much mutual admiration.

Dr. Eberstadt understands the problem, but couldn't seem to escape the cold certainty of his data. This data is clear that government has fundamentally changed so that entitlement spending dwarfs all other roles, continues to grow in proportion and is already beyond the ability of our society to sustain. This point is made again and again and seems unassailable against the most determined critic.

Indeed, serving as critic, Dr. Galston simply concedes the point and is reduced to arguing that the clear and fundamental shift in government has not had a corresponding impact on communities and social mores and that some way should be found to make the system sustainable.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jim R. on May 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a review pretty much of politics in the mid 1970's to the late 1980's and how this author sees the country becoming more dependant on Government.

I am a free market believer and not one who desires more Government and less self-sufficiency. So this book made sense to me. However at the same time, it was very much a retrospective of the news from a 15-year period that tries to explain how we are where we are today, but I don't think 15-years is the whole picture. I think it runs deeper than that.
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful By B Hector on July 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
I want to be free. I don't want to labor for the state. I want to take care of my children. Social Security is the most successful social welfare program for a reason. People are basically paying for themselves. Medicare is a problem because people are not paying for themselves. When we force people to do things for themselves, shockingly they tend to try harder. When we allow our children to sit at home and do nothing they tend to do less. Again...not a surprise.

I will now state the obvious.

If people cannot truly provide for themselves we, as citizens, understand we have a certain responsibility to them. This responsibility does not extend to a point where we are bringing down all of society to care for these people. That's just stupid because if we think this through, we see that, as we bring society down, our ability to care for the sick and disabled shrinks. Since it's an absolute economic law that taking money from an activity that produces something and handing it to something that does not produce makes us all that much poorer it is absolutely certain that these actions MUST be limited to the absolute minimum.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Anna Maria DelVecchio on April 29, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
The word "entitlement" was hijacked to put a better spin on welfare...

If I buy a ticket to the theater, I am ENTITLED to enter, take a seat and see the show. All things I paid for with my money.

If I pay into SS all my life, I am ENTITLED to a pension and/or disability payments (SSDI); again, things I paid for with my money.

The corruption comes when it is claimed that, by virtue of a personal condition, you should get something for having made no investment, e.g. food stamps, SSI, TANF, etc. You are spared the stigma of taking "charity" or "handouts" because you are told you are ENTITLED to them, albeit not by anything you have done or paid, but just because the political whores are trying to buy your vote.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By MrCaffeineX on July 13, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Every day that the stock market closes up higher I keep wondering when people will realize that it is all being propped up by inflationary monetary policy at the Federal Reserve. I also wonder when people will realize that the ever-expanding cost of Medicare and Social Security are a serious threat to the economic stability of the country. This is not to say that either program needs to be eliminated, but serious changes need to be made if we are going to overcome the fiscal challenges ahead. Eberstadt does an outstanding job of illustrating just how much money we spend on various entitlement programs, especially healthcare, with data, charts, and insightful analysis. The back-and-forth commentary at the end of the book is a great debate about what we can do, and more importantly, if we can do anything, to prevent us from going over the real fiscal cliff that keeps getting pushed down the road a bit further with each inept congress that we get stuck with. Hopefully more people will pay attention to just how much of our economy is tied up in the various entitlement programs before it is too late to effectively change them for the better.
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