Federal Spending and Quality of Life
The 2016 presidential election’s campaign and result are interesting in part because of the societal cleavages they revealed. In particular, the differences it revealed in conceptions of how liberal democracies ought to function. Although all elections do this to some extent, Senator Sanders’s campaign brought the question to the forefront of national dialogue. His thoughts about government’s role in healthcare and breaking up economic power centralized in large banks while advocating for limiting the power of corporations rallied many to his camp, especially young voters. Sanders’s position reveals a clear picture of government as a power for good. While his stance as a Democratic Socialist likely places him on the outskirts of this view, the heart of his position is not far from the main thrust of government’s role. Social contract theorist Thomas Hobbes believed that without government life would be little but a short and nasty affair. That government is needed to bring out the saint and tame the brute and care for those in need is a common view (Finer, 1997). This theory of government is intertwined with the well-being of individuals. Government is, along with other important factors like consent, justified because it makes people better off.
- Bickers, K. N., & Stein, R. M. (1991). Federal domestic outlays, 1983–1990: A databook. London: ME Sharpe.Google Scholar
- Finer, S. E. (1997). The history of government from the earliest times, Vol. III: Empires, monarchies and the modern state. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Olson, M. (1965). The logic of collective action: Public goods and the theory of groups. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Reilly, S. (2010). Design, meaning and choice in direct democracy: Petitioners and voter’s influences. New York: Ashgate Publishing.Google Scholar
- Simmons, R. T. (2011). Beyond politics: The roots of government failure. Oakland, CA: Independent Institute.Google Scholar