Buchanan’s master plan to undermine the welfare state is just a mundane economics paper

JCB Thoughts

In her recent interview with The Chronicle of Higher Education,  Nancy MacLean was asked the following question:

Henry Farrell, a political scientist on the left at George Washington University, points to your discussion of a document Buchanan wrote laying out a strategy for dividing the coalition of groups who supported the welfare state. You suggest this was a kind of master plan that shaped much of the American right, but Farrell thinks you fail to provide evidence either for the crucial role played by this document or that Buchanan himself was more than a midlevel intellectual within a much larger movement. What’s your response?

Her response :

In the document in question, Buchanan was providing the Cato Institute with counsel for its then-top policy priority: privatization of Social Security, which Buchanan expressly pointed out had no support from any demographic group of voters, so he proposed an indirect approach…

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