In the wake of the health-care debate, I’ve been struck by the blanket criticism to federal programs, much of which lacks historical context.

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., said, “The proponents of this legislation reject an opportunity society and instead assume you are stuck in your station in life and the role of government is to help you cope with it. Rather than promote equal opportunities for individuals to make the most of their lives, the cradle-to-grave welfare state seeks to equalize the results of people’s lives.”

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