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The Dependency Agenda (Encounter Broadsides) Paperback – May 29, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Kevin D. Williamson is an editor at National Review, the author of the forthcoming The End of Politics (And What Comes Next), and a columnist for The New Criterion. He began his journalism career at the Mumbai-based Indian Express Newspaper Group and has worked as a reporter, columnist, and editor at a variety of newspapers. He directed the journalism program at the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University and serves as an adjunct professor at The King’s College in New York City.
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Product Details

  • Series: Encounter Broadsides (Book 28)
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books (May 29, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594036632
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594036637
  • Product Dimensions: 4.6 x 0.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #753,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had no idea that LBJ was such a die-hard racist. After all, didn't he push his "Great Society" through Congress?

What he actually thought (and said) was, "We'll have those (N-words) voting Democratic for 200 years." Which is just about the most repulsive thought ever uttered by an American politician.

So the first step in the "dependency agenda" was to hook the poor on government handouts. The second step is less obvious, but really much more important. Let me explain it to you.

The government rakes in the lettuce and then has to give at least some of it to those who are deemed to be "poor." But it needs a middleman to distribute the lettuce, and long ago began farming this work out to non-profit AND for-profit organizations. These people make genuinely handsome salaries (as opposed to their poor "clients") and they would be utterly wiped out if the welfare state disappeared.

So we have two large voting blocs who vote Democratic because that's where their money comes from: those deemed worthy of welfare &c. and (more important) the Welfare Emperors who control the distribution of the lettuce.

This is a corrupt way of doing things, which seems to beg for even more corruption along the way.

This is a quick read, which is both scary and enlightening. Very highly recommended!

(P.S. If you think this is all a right-wing fantasy, then answer me this. As is well known, the U.S. government is broke, and running a deficit of 1.5 TRILLION dollars a year. Given this situation, WHY would the Obama administration be spending $3 million on a campaign to get MORE people on food stamps?)

"...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Roughly half of all Americans depend on government assistance of one sort or another. A very large number receive unearned benefits---and have been turned into moochers. Kevin Williamson convincingly argues that Lyndon B. Johnson and Barack Obama deliberately advocated such policies primarily to increase the power of the Democratic Party. In short, they wished to bribe their voters. The author is cynical. One is also hard pressed to disagree with his conclusion.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This description of the growth of dependency on the the Government by the American people offers what are for me some new ways of thinking about dependency that I found highly interesting. No doubt it is in the vein of current writing in that it is not a balanced piece. No doubt Mr. Williamson is opposed to the direction the country has been/is following, but lack of balance doesn't mean lack of value. I read this short book as an information piece and found it did inform me. It offered new insights, data and ways of looking at things I had not considered before. It has influenced my thinking and that has made it a valuable read for me regardless of my level of agreement on specific issues. I would recommend it to you in the same spirit.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There are enough insights and surprises to warrant spending the little bit of time you'll invest in reading this. The main take away for me is the delivery industry end of the equation, that's way beyond just the particular hapless boob (congressman) in WDC. I recommend this book.

Some constructive criticism:
A couple / few graphs would be useful and supportive.
I can't accept the idea that any forced support of anyone is ever moral.
Using and dismissing Ayn Rand as a pole (that the author thinks we needn't adopt), w/o explaining or contrasting was annoying.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is pretty decent. A lot of people talk about the Roman Empire (and waffle on about "bread and circuses"), but if you can speak English and live in/ grew up in America, you need look no further than your surroundings to find a pertinent and immediately available example of what happens when a government tries to buy of its citizenry.

None of these situations are unpredictable, with a bit of standard Micro-economic reasoning. It's not such a stretch to imagine that politicians want votes. And that since dependency buys votes, then various administrations/ government/ politicians have incentives to create dependency now because that buys them votes both now AND later. And of course the definition of dependency is going to be as broad as possible because that will maximize the number of potential votes.

It's also not news to us that government bureaucracies can start out small but then take on lives of their own. Williamson gave us a lot of specific details to fill in the outlines of that idea.

Another idea that he expands on is one that was originally introduced by Hayek in The Road to Serfdom (Why the Worst Get On Top). The author does not get into *why* the worst get on top, but instead he gives us some examples of bad people that DO get on top (Lyndon Baines Johnson) and what follows when they make policy.

In many ways, this book feels like reading a text on Evolutionary Biology. That's to say that the things that Williamson describes are not inconsistent with what one would expect based on semi-formal Economic reasoning/ Social Psychology but that the specific situations could never themselves be predicted.
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