Are "Big Government" and "Individual Freedom" opposed to each other?
Or can they coexist?
Talk to scholars at the Cato Institute or the Heritage Foundation or to movement organizers like Grover Norquist, and they’ll walk you through the strategy. Big government and individual freedom, they’ll explain, are opposed to each other; more of one means less of the other. The three big areas of non-defense-related government spending are retirement (mainly Social Security), health care (mainly Medicare and Medicaid), and education (mainly K-12 public schools). For political reasons, it is practically impossible to cut spending in these areas. But it is possible to dismantle the government bureaucracies that administer them in a way that enhances personal freedom and makes possible big cuts down the road: privatize the benefits.
The father of this line of thinking is Milton Friedman. In the 1950s and 1960s, the conservative economist dreamed up the notions of education vouchers and private accounts for Social Security. Republican operatives and think tankers seized on Friedman’s ideas in the 1970s, expanded them into areas like health care, and fleshed out their philosophic and political logic. Vesting individuals with more choice, control, and ownership of their government benefits, they argued, would not only enhance virtues like personal responsibility, but over time, it would also result in the shift of hundreds of billions of tax dollars from the custodial care of government to the corporations that would help manage people’s private accounts. Best of all, from the conservative point of view, it would transform the electorate’s political identity. Instead of government-dependent supporters of the Democratic Party, voters would become self-reliant followers of the GOP.
an excerpt from – Bush’s Ownership Society of Washington Monthly
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