Australians are more prosperous than ever before, so the number of people needing government assistance should be falling. Yet the welfare state keeps getting bigger. This book explores this paradox. It asks why the government is spending more than ever on the welfare state when increasing numbers of people are earning enough to take care of themselves? The answer lies in the growth of 'tax-welfare churning.' In the past, the welfare state operated like Robin Hood, taking money from the rich and giving it to those who needed help. But today, the welfare state operates more like a giant piggy bank, taxing everybody but then giving most of the money back to the same people who paid it in. It would make more sense to leave us with our own money to spend ourselves rather than forcing us to hand over responsibility for key areas of our lives to politicians. Saunders suggests three ways Australians could be given back more control over their lives. Government should stop taxing low income earners. Workers should put money aside to cover temporary periods of joblessness rather than relying on benefits. And those who want to provide for themselves should be allowed to reduce their tax payments in return for accepting full responsibility for their own health care and retirement savings. The welfare state would still help those who need assistance, but it would no longer undermine the self-reliance of those who do not.