Much of the current budgetary and related debt crisis confronting the United States has its origin in Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs of the 1960s. Many of these supposedly “untouchable” entitlement programs that are at the core of the fiscal conflicts going on right now in Washington, D.C. and in the state capitals around the country were created or were greatly expanded in the Great Society era.
Earlier this week I delivered a lecture on, “Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society’: A Free Market Critique” at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. My text of my talk may be accessed at Northwood University’s blog site, “In Defense of Capitalism & Human Progress”:
I explain the paternalistic and social engineering mentalities that guided the Great Society agenda, and the perverse and unintended consequences of the policies implemented. I also discuss the Keynesian mismanagement of the monetary system, and the inflation it generated.
I conclude with a discussion of the difference between the true liberalism of individual liberty and free markets vs. the false liberalism of control and coercion that was the underpinning of the Great Society mentality.
It is the ideological and policy legacy that we are still attempting to overcome.