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Tag Archives: disincentive


When welfare pays better than work

Food Stamps Welfareby Michael Turner

Here’s an offer for you: $38,004 per year, tax free. No work required. Apply at your local welfare office.

The federal government funds 126 separate programs targeted towards low-income people, 72 of which provide either cash or in-kind benefits to individuals. (The rest fund community-wide programs for low-income neighborhoods, with no direct benefits to individuals.) State and local governments operate more welfare programs. Of course, no individual or family gets benefits from all 72 programs, but many do get aid from a number of them at any point in time. Continue reading


Why Liberalism Doesn’t Work

“‘This is painful for a liberal to admit,’ admits Nicholas D. Kristof, a Times columnist… ‘but conservatives have a point when they suggest that America’s safety net can sometimes entangle people in a soul-crushing dependency. Our poverty programs do rescue many people, but other times they backfire.’ Do tell.”

by Bill Murchison

Reason No. 1 not to tremble at the prospect of liberal ascendancy, world without end: Liberalism doesn’t work. At any rate, not the way liberals commonly suppose it’s going to work when they devise enormous taxpayer-funded, government-run programs, minimally connected, if at all, to the realities of human existence.

An article in the Dec. 9 New York Times, of all places, gleams in the darkness of the present political moment as the Obama administration works to rub away resistance to its vision of an all-encompassing federal government. “This is painful for a liberal to admit,” admits Nicholas D. Kristof, a Times columnist who, oddly, doesn’t see his job as requiring regular trashing of conservatives, “but conservatives have a point when they suggest that America’s safety net can sometimes entangle people in a soul-crushing dependency. Our poverty programs do rescue many people, but other times they backfire.” Do tell. Kristof’s careful examination of anti-poverty programs in Appalachia presents a viewpoint far more nuanced than, say, a Barack Obama speech urging the overhaul of capitalism. He finds that giving people too much free money for too long can create disincentives to live non-dependent lives. He talks about parents who pull illiterate kids out of literacy programs to avoid forfeiting a $698 monthly Supplement Security Income check meant to “help” the intellectually disabled. Continue reading


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