The Rise of Federal Control over the Lives of Ordinary Americans
Author: Charlotte Twight
Publisher: Palgrave Global Publishing
December 2001

Twight (a lawyer and professor of economics at Boise State University) offers a libertarian account of the past 70 years of federal intervention in the daily lives of American citizens. She argues that a growing dependency of government-for education, health care, social security, and the like-erodes the rule of law and increases the government's discretion to regulate, manipulate, or prohibit virtually any activity. Oddly, while emphasizing the nefarious aspects of public schooling and the use of the bureaucracies to enhance government surveillance, she does not seem interested in the federal role in prison expansion, or in the FBI's history of interfering with Constitutionally protected political activity.

>From the Publisher:
Dependent on D.C. is a new book that raises serious concerns about the future of liberty in America. Charlotte A. Twight proves beyond doubt that the growth of dependence on government in the past seventy years has not been accidental, that its creation has been bipartisan, and that it is accelerating. Sbe reveals a universal tactic used by federal officials to expand government authority over the lives of all Americans and exposes the many forms this tactic has taken. Twight shows how growing federal power - driven by legislation, validated by Supreme Court decisions, and accelerated by presidential ambition - has eroded the rule of law in our nation, leaving almost no activity that the central government cannot at its discretion regulate, manipulate, or prohibit. A constitutional counterrevolution has occurred in America--one so profound that few today can imagine Americans free of dependence on government. Dependent on D.C. shows why Americans have not resisted this expansion of federal power and reveals the daunting magnitude of the changes needed to reverse our nation's spiral into dependency. In these uncertain times, Dependent on D.C. is the book Americans need to read when thinking about the future of their individual liberty in a country long committed to the ideal of personal freedom.

>From the Critics:
>From Walter Williams - Orange County Register Twight shows how Americans became a nation of sheep.

>From David Boaz
After years of combing through congressional debates, federal legislation, and Supreme Court arguments, Charlotte Twight has developed an original and striking indictment of how the federal government has made more and more Americans dependent on it.

>From James M. Buchanan
This book is a wake-up call to those libertarians, conservatives, and classical liberals, who, almost literally, went to sleep when the Cold War ended, and socialist ideology collapsed.

>From Publisher's Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Americans have been seduced into surrendering their autonomy by an ever-growing federal government, contends Twight, economics professor at Boise State University. That refrain is hardly new, of course. Ronald Reagan used it to great effect in his early presidential campaigns. Twight offers a plausible explanation about why politicians like Reagan, who promise to "shrink" big government, find it so hard to do once in power. In her view, entrenched bureaucrats and politicians willfully manipulate "political transaction costs" (or the costs of collective action) in an effort to influence "people's perceptions of the costs and benefits of governmental activities." Stripped of its academic window dressing, Twight's thesis is straightforward: government insiders actively promote their own public policy initiatives. In her view, this promotion often takes the form of outright misrepresentation of costs and benefits to the individual citizen. Reviewing the history of the social security program, she explains how the Roosevelt administration won over an initially hostile public by inaccurately portraying the program as akin to "insurance," which it decidedly is not. The more citizens come to rely upon government programs, the less likely they are to agitate for reform, even when such reform is needed. In addition to social security, Twight discusses the federal government's growing involvement in health care, education, taxation and data collection. Her take on virtually all these programs is predictably dour: they fail to deliver the social benefits that their proponents promise while robbing Americans of autonomy. She also implies that those who promote big government do so largely out of self-interest. In short, Twight is so deeply distrustful of federal power that she invests no merit in the contrary position. Still, she offers a spirited argument that will engage readers who follow Washington politics. (Jan. 8) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

>From Library Journal
Libertarians have a basic problem with government they don't believe it should exist except to provide a police force and a military. Nor do they appreciate the necessary role politicians perform in a democratic society. Instead, they retreat into the worst romanticisms of Thomas Jefferson. This first book by Twight reflects her specialty training outside political science and history, which includes a Ph.D. in economics, a law degree, and experience in programming computers. Like most libertarians, she espouses unrealistic ideals and ideas unrelated to pragmatic solutions to social and political issues. She fills this work with criticism of the expansion of federal authority during the past 70 years, never mind which political party governed. She also ignores lessons gathered over 2500 years of Western political philosophy, except to acknowledge that politicians may lie to cover up their misdeeds, which the author terms "transaction-cost-augmentation" i.e., they spend public money. September 11 makes most of this seem like abstract economic argument. Not recommended for general libraries; an optional purchase for large academic libraries. William D. Pederson, Louisiana State Univ. in Shreveport Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Table of Contents
Ch. 1 The Evolution of Dependence 1
Ch. 2 The Universal Tactic 19
Ch. 3 Social Security: Guaranteeing Dependence of the Elderly 55
Ch. 4 Income Tax Withholding: The Infrastructure of Dependence 87
Ch. 5 Public Education: Imprinting the Next Generation 133
Ch. 6 Health Care Controls: Exploiting Human Vulnerability 185
Ch. 7 Systematic Federal Surveillance of Ordinary Americans 235
Ch. 8 Evisceration of the Rule of Law 277
Ch. 9 Designing Dependence, Acquiring Control 311
Notes 339
Index 409