Following the financial crisis of 2007–9 and the subsequent recession, governments across the democratic world faced the task of cutting back on public expenditure in order to deal with ballooning deficits. The size and scope of cuts are, of course, highly controversial and even though they have been forced on governments by events they do raise fundamental questions. Perhaps the most important question is: are governments trying to do too much? There is the argument that the state has become too large and it is time for it to withdraw from some activities and let the private sector take over. The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government which formed in Britain after the 2010 general election brought the issue of cuts in public expenditure into the forefront of debate. The coalition plans large-scale cuts in public services in order to deal with the deficit.
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