ABOUT THE BOOK:
In "A Nation of Takers," author Nicholas Eberstadt draws on an impressive array of data to detail the exponential growth in entitlement spending over the past fifty years. As he notes, in 1960, entitlement payments accounted for well under a third of the federal government’s total outlays. Today, entitlement spending — everything from Medicare to disability payments — accounts for a full two-thirds of the federal budget. While these economic developments are indeed astonishing, the cultural costs of this epidemic are equally troubling, and Eberstadt shows in unflinching detail how this run-away spending is making a very real, long-lasting, negative impact on the character of our citizens.
Also included in the book are responses to Eberstadt’s argument from other leading political theorists, William Galston, who questions Eberstadt’s causal links between government programs and dependence, and Yuval Levin, who suggests that the problems posed by dependence may, in fact, run even deeper than Eberstadt suggests. A final response from Eberstadt puts everything in perspective and invites the rest of us to lend our voices to the conversation.
“Nicholas Eberstadt is a brilliant demographer and social scientist. In "A Nation of Takers," his argument, though deeply informed by empirical analysis, is fundamentally a moral one. He pleads with us to notice the ways in which a culture of dependency—and the entitlement mentality it breeds—undermines initiative, self-respect, the sense of personal responsibility, civic-mindedness, and other virtues that are indispensable to the flourishing of a free society.” —Robert P. George, Princeton University
"This week's book of the week is Nicholas Eberstadt's "A Nation of Takers." While the Romney and Ryan ticket lost, one of the main arguments of their campaign does have some merit, and Eberstadt's book is the best data-filled analysis about the rise of the entitlement state in America. All western societies will have to confront this problem as the baby boomers retire and these costs skyrocket." —Fareed Zakaria, CNN Global Public Square