From FDR's New Deal to Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, the United States government has attempted to centralize extensive social policies. In the early eighties, when recession and inflation were at a high, Ronald Reagan took office and pronounced that the federal government needed to take a lesser role in the lives of the American people. As Theda Skocpol comments in her book Boomerang: Clinton's Health Security Effort and the Turn Against Government in U.S. Politics, the Reagan administration instilled a dislike of centralized government in the American people. This was a major reason, according to Skocpol, why the Clinton Administration failed to nationalize "Health Security". It was this fear of centralized government and Clinton's failure to reform Health Care that makes a more centralized social policy unlikely in the near future.
There has been a necessity in the twentieth century (due in part to the Great Depression and World War II) for big government. The legislation behind Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal called for the involvement of the federal government to create a highly bureaucratic social policy. The combination of Roosevelt's political assertiveness and society's willingness to allow such centralization that made big government possible. The laissez-faire mentality of the twenties was seen as the cause of the depression. The federal government and the ensuing reforms were seen as a way of insuring economic security. In the sixties President Johnson followed with a plan of social reform: "The Great Society". In contrast to the severe economic circumstances of the thirties, the sixties were consumed with social unrest. The predominantly white bourgeoisie saw such reforms as a financial threat. The civil rights act of 1964 was a distant promise to the underprivileged for a better way of living. The American people were not willing to give up some of their money so that the more unfortunate could a have a better way of living. The...
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