It Didn’t Begin with LBJ: How the US Became a Transfer Society

Source: Ludwig von Mises Institute
by Eduard Bucher

“Terry L. Anderson and Peter J. Hill’s fascinating account traces the decline of the American constitutional framework from its origins in laissez-faire individualism to its current state of redistributive collectivism. … Emphasizing the role played by the courts, the authors show how from ‘1877 to 1917 the Constitution was altered in numerous ways that made transfers much easier to obtain. Except for the income tax amendment, all of these changes came through interpretation.’ Furthermore, the ‘substitution of an equivocal concept like public interest for firm constitutional limitations meant that the subjective judgment of justices was supreme.’ This set the stage for private interests to learn to benefit from governmental transfers …” (07/08/24)