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The Struggle to Limit Government: A Modern Political History Hardcover – April 16, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 375 pages
  • Publisher: Cato Institute; English Language edition (April 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935308289
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935308287
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #796,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Freedom fights a losing battle with an out-of-control Washington in this manifesto. Cato Institute scholar Samples decries seven decades of progressive government, from the New Deal to today's giant bailouts in this story of soaring taxes, spending, and deficits in which both parties come out tarnished. (The author credits Ronald Reagan with restraining government growth but pillories George W. Bush as a champion of big government.) More than over-mighty bureaucrats and spineless politicians, Samples's real target is the American people, whose self-reliance has been corrupted, he believes, by government largesse that others pay for. (His bête noire is Social Security, which he regards as essentially a multigenerational Ponzi scheme.) Samples rarely justifies smaller government in terms of public well-being; he deplores almost any accretion of government power as an infringement of liberty. His flinty libertarianism can seem callous: grousing about an initiative to tax cigarettes to pay for children's health insurance, he writes, [T]axpayers could afford to be sentimental about sick children if... someone else would be required to pay. Samples shrewdly analyzes the politics behind government expansion, but never grapples with it on the merits. (Apr.)
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on June 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The Struggle to Limit Government: A Modern Political History surveys the high and low points of nearly twenty years of struggle to limit American government. Bush's willingness to expand government for political reasons represented a far extreme of political power gone awry, but other examples show that both parties need to incorporate this idea into future plans - and his focus on spending, taxation and the politics of 'entitlement' that have permeated modern government makes for eye-opening insights perfect for college-level political discussions.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. Jaksetic on October 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author examines the issue of limited government in modern American politics from a libertarian perspective. The book is a mix of political history, political philosophy, and public finance.

The author starts with a discussion of the ideas and principles of American Progressivism, and the implementation of Progressive ideas and principles in the New Deal. The author then looks at how the federal government continued to grow after the New Deal, under both Democratic and Republican administrations, and how the growth of the federal government led to a series of increasing problems and failures in the 1960s and 1970s. The author examines the effect of the President Reagan administration on the size of the federal government and concludes it had limited success and mixed results on the issue of the limiting the size and scope of the federal government. The author then looks at the continued growth of the federal government from after the President Reagan administration to the beginning of the President Obama administration. In the book's last chapter, the author states his conclusions about the growth of the federal government from the New Deal to the present, offers his opinions on the likelihood of significant change in the growth of the federal government, and notes the American people seem to be ambivalent about what they want and expect from the federal government.

This is a thoughtful and ambitious book. It is not a book for casual reading. A reader willing to devote the time and attention necessary to follow the author's discussions and arguments can gain some useful insight into a libertarian perspective on the size and growth of the federal government.
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