Thursday, June 3, 2010

Views on 'big government' may shape election outcome

It's a debate as old as Jefferson and Hamilton: how big a role should the federal government play in the lives of Americans. The age-old debate is as vigorous as ever as the fall congressional elections approach. While it's far from the only issue on the minds of voters, their general view of government may determine if Democrats keep control of Congress - and if President Barack Obama retains the political upper hand. The Obama White House, admirers and critics agree, has intervened more in the U.S. economy than any Democratic administration since Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s. LBJ created a slew of social-welfare programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, as part of his Great Society program. Yet the policies have also stirred fierce opposition and spawned the rise of a new political force of a loosely knit group known as the Tea Party. They've raised anew concerns about the size and scope of the national government. How much should the government tax? How much should it spend? What should it regulate? And what should it leave to markets or ordinary citizens to work out?...more

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