The French senate today passed pension reform despite weeks of angry street demonstrations and occasional violence. In Britain, a new coalition government is prepared to dismantle much of the welfare state. In the midst of the economic crisis, calls for "smaller government" have been deafening in America's election campaigns. But what might that really mean? Will Democrats stand for shredded safety nets? Will Republicans approve cuts in Social Security and Medicare? Are new taxes out of the question? Does either political party have the moral authority to face new realities, or will the fear of bold action lead to paralysis and partisanship intensified?