Let’s Rethink Public Services: The Rights and Entitlements of the People

When Americans consider the matter of public services—assistance of various kinds provided to citizens by government agencies—the national conversation tends to polarize around two contrasting views. One holds that government should provide a wide range of services for its citizens, especially those facing financial hardship and the effects of disadvantaged environments. The other holds that government should stay out of people’s lives and let them fend for themselves.

On one side of the debate, the eternal bogeyman quickly raises its head: “Socialism.” The “nanny state.” “Do we want the government to do everything for us?” And, “Who pays for …