For about a century, U.S. government expenditures reflected Adam Smiths view that the states 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 statea trend that may ultimately threaten governments capacity to provide the services that Smith deemed essential to the maintenance of a safe and prosperous society.
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