For about a century, U.S. government expenditures reflected Adam Smith’s view that the state’s role should be limited to protecting citizens from aggression and supplying goods that the free market may not provide. Beginning in the late 1800s, however, government at all levels began to change its emphasis from carrying out these traditional roles to advancing the welfare state—a trend that may ultimately threaten government’s capacity to provide the services that Smith deemed essential to the maintenance of a safe and prosperous society.

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Other Independent Review articles by Jody W. Lipford
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    Spring 2012   Taxpayers and Tax Spenders
    Winter 2004   Armageddon Averted
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