A Politics of Public Goods
Although the federal budget has increased by trillions of dollars over the past half-century, one line item has been shrinking: the percentage of federal spending and the share of the national wealth dedicated to public goods. The provision of things like national defense, basic scientific research, and transportation infrastructure has long been a core state function. But a shift in spending away from these goods and toward social insurance has correlated both with the growth of the state and a decline in the respect Americans have for it. Prioritizing public goods again could restore the prestige of government, increase America's social and economic dynamism, and offer a democratically acceptable way to restrain the size of government.