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

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A Nation of Takers: America's Entitlement Epidemic + "Trickle Down Theory" and "Tax Cuts for the Rich" + Why Government Is the Problem (Essays in Public Policy)
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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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Templeton Press; 1st edition (October 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599474352
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599474359
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

The question is whether we Will do anything about it.
brant b geisler
One of the most heavily abused is the Social Security Disability program.
Dennis Poindexter
The book is well written, brief, easy to understand and important.
Frederick P. Bartlett

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

112 of 134 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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17 of 24 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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12 of 17 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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Format: Paperback
Why is that whenever the conservatives talk about our great "entitlement crisis" they only discuss those programs which citizens have paid into for years and years -- and thus truly ARE entitled -- and never the military/industrial/security complex -- who haven't paid anything in and thus are entitled to NOTHING. Why nothing here about how the US government spends over a TRILLION dollars per YEAR to maintain its 900+ overseas and Lord knows how many domestic bases, to build hugely expensive boondoggle planes like the F-22 and F-35C as well as still more aircraft carriers -- [12 aren't enough evidently, although no other nation has more than two] -- and then pay another $100 billion/year on each of its three primary foreign wars -- Afghanistan, Iraq and now Syria -- still more billions on other smaller interventions like Libya, Panama, Yugoslavia, etc., more yet on big gifts to Israel, and of course billions more to make sure that all of our 26 "security agencies" -- like the FBI, CIA, NSA, all the separate military branch intel. programs, homeland security etc. etc.? It's always the same with these fools: trillions for illusory security against imaginary threats like ISIS, and not one red cent to our hungry, poorly educated kids, our future that is, and indeed, right now, not one red cent for combatting an actual danger to our land like an ebola pandemic, which we face without a Surgeon General in place due to the wonderful "sequestering" of funds!Read more ›
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