The primary reason for the growth of big government in the twentieth century was social insurance. The idea behind Social Security, for example, is insurance against the risk of growing old and not being able to support yourself after you can no longer work. Medicare is insurance against reaching a point in life where you can no longer afford health insurance. Unemployment insurance protects you against the risk of being out of work. A whole host of “welfare” programs insure you against being down on your luck.

But do we really need government to do all these things? A new book by Peter Ferrara argues that we don’t. Individual prudence and the marketplace can solve these problems much better, he argues. The case is made in Power to the People: A New Road to Freedom and Prosperity for the Poor, Seniors, and Those Most in Need of the World’s Best Health Care. The book should be required reading for every member of Congress.