OK, I’ll go along with disagreement, but please, don’t make it stark. I’ve got more coming out on this that may lay out the argument more clearly. But what I have in mind is that when it comes to social policy, there are a variety of objectives, some of which I sympathize with more than others. For example, I do not much sympathize with policies that depend on strictly sorting out the “deserving” from the “undeserving” poor. Even if pursued in good faith, that is too god-like a role for my taste, and in bad faith, it is just an excuse for not caring about others.

But I find it a closer call when it comes to giving people who want to work the greatest chance to get on the ladder to self-sufficiency, while respecting those who would rather work outside the market system, e.g., caring for children or elders. A mix of work incentives for the former and unconditional support for the latter seems reasonable to me.

I think, then, we have a difference of emphasis, but not a stark one. Anyway, I hope you follow this space and weigh in again for the next installment of my thoughts on this issue, coming in the not-too-far-distant future.

Written by

Economist, Senior Fellow at Niskanen Center, Yale Ph.D. Interests include environment, health care policy, social safety net, economic freedom.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store