Spalding traces the roots of American progressives to German thinkers who believed in the "Administrative State." Here, government is controlled by administrators and "experts," rather than officials elected to represent the people. Spalding also notes that the Founders and the progressives differed in their view of the Constitution. Progressives believed in a "...
Should Government Do More?
"Today, 39 percent of adults say that 'government should do more to solve problems,' while a 57 percent majority feels 'government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals.' This type of result is often cited as evidence for the claim that Americans want smaller government.
Moreover, a look at partisan and demographic breakdowns on this question confirms that the belief that 'government is doing too many things' has a strong correlation with a conservative perspective. Case in point: 82 percent of Republicans say 'doing too many things' while 32 percent of Democrats concur. And there is considerable variation outside of partisanship: 60 percent of blacks and 50 percent of Hispanics want government to do more, compared to 31 percent of the white working class (see Table 2).
Nonetheless, it is far from clear that these results demonstrate any kind of major shift in Americans' fundamental view of the proper role for government. Historically, the results for this question fluctuate a fair amount over short periods of time, suggesting it is not measuring a core philosophical orientation with much precision. Just five months before this survey was conducted, for example, the public was divided quite evenly on this same question (45 percent do more, 47 percent doing too much). Yet seven months before that, the results were quite similar to those in the current survey (34 percent more, 56 percent too many things)."
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