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The biggest debates in American politics today—about how to end poverty, improve living standards for the middle class, protect the environment, and provide access to health care and education—are nothing new under the sun. These same issues divided the country in the 1960s. Then, as now, Americans debated socialism versus capitalism and public sector versus private-sector reform. Time and again, whether under John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, or Richard Nixon, the country chose the public sector. The result was the Great Society—a wave of massive reforms, implemented from the top-down by experts and bureaucrats. In her book, Great Society: A New History, Amity Shlaes details the results of the great society era were far from great; they were devastating. In a similar vein, Lindsey Burke illustrates the policy pitfalls of the Great Society in her book, The Not-So-Great Society.
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