Welfare


From Sunday’s broadcast of The Revolution with host Steve Hilton on FOX News:

CHARLES MURRAY: Well the simplest case from the conservative point of view is the current system is awful and replacing it all by just giving people money is better, that was Milton Friedman’s argument who made the case a long time ago. That’s part of my reason. But the main reason is, well I’ve got a couple, one is that I think we’re going to see a revolution in the job market in the next 20 or 30 years that are going to require us to define what the meaning of a job is. I’m in a minority on that.

. . .

In my plan, I give $10, 000 a year of disposable income, health care is taken care of otherwise. Okay, on $10,000 a year, you can’t really make much of a decent living. If you get a job you could easily be above the poverty line, but guess what? If you’re a couple that’s $20,000 plus whatever you can get from a low-paying job. And all at once if that low-paying job pays $15,000 a year for each other you, that’s 30 plus 20, that’s 50, and you’re moving toward a middle-class lifestyle.

I’m open to the concept of a Universal Basic Income. The details matter. For my support, I’d need to see most other welfare programs replaced by the equivalent dollar amount from the UBI program. Also, many regulations should be cut back that supposedly buffer employees from job loss as a result of trade or technology, and other regulations.

This approach let’s the market process operate based supply and demand, and removes the distortions that arise from government intervention.

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Phil Gramm and Micheal Solon:

But it wasn’t only the tax cuts, and it wasn’t only Reagan. To his credit, President Carter led the most significant deregulatory effort in the postwar era, reducing the regulatory burden on truckers, railroads, airlines and telecommunications, along with the interest rates paid by financial institutions. Reagan built on this Carter legacy by eliminating price controls on domestic oil and natural gas. These actions enhanced overall economic efficiency and amplified the effects of the 1981 tax cut and the 1986 tax reform.

But then they end with a too-partisan conclusion:

Economic growth faded as President Obama raised taxes and smothered the economy with unprecedented regulatory burdens.

They conveniently ignore President Bush (43) regulatory and spending smothering. It helped to build the deep state and bureaucracy just as the Obama years did, and from which we are struggling to emerge.

 

 

I recently heard the radio advertisement from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The tagline is “we know what’s best”.

How creepy. Worse, the supposed experts — NOT — suffer from the fatal conceit as explained by Friedrich A. Hayek. Here’s an appropriate quote from the book:

“The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.”

A perfect example of how government programs get re-directed to the well-connected. From Politico:

San Francisco will get $19-a-person in community development block grants this year, while Allentown, with twice the poverty and less than half of the median income, will draw a per-capita allotment of $17.53….Community development block grants rely on outdated, 1970s formulas that have increasingly shuttled dollars to wealthy places like Newton, Mass., while other locales in need, such as Compton, Calif., go wanting.

As Chris Edwards notes, it gets worse:

The federal aid system generates no net value—it is simply a roundabout way of funding local activities. Taxpayers in San Francisco mail checks to the IRS to fund the CDBG program. Their money flows through the HUD bureaucracy, and then is dished out to bureaucracies in Harrisburg and Allentown, with some trickling down to local residents and businesses. Meanwhile, taxpayers in Allentown are also mailing checks to the IRS to fund the CDBG program. Their money flows through the HUD bureaucracy, and then is dished out to bureaucracies in Sacramento and San Francisco, with some trickling down to local residents and businesses.

The Finale:

“The federal aid system thrives not because it benefits the American people, but because it benefits governments and lobbyists.”

Here.

After all the hullabaloo from the GOP and Dem political conventions, I thought I’d remind everyone where the U.S. stands on global measures of economic freedom and human freedom.

Politics is toxic and deceptive. Rarely does the truth emerge from political conventions. So what was said at them, well, take with a grain of salt. Let’s look at the facts.

Economic freedom measures the level of voluntary exchange, property rights, regulations, and other indicators.

In 2013, the last year available, the US ranked 16 out of 197 countries and sinking. By contrast, in 2000 the US ranked 2 out of 123 countries, #3 in 2001, 5 or 6 from 2002 through 2008, then 10 in 2009, 12 in 2010, 16 in 2011, and 13 in 2012.

Here is an interactive map of the world.

Human freedom combines economic freedom with measures of social freedom such as freedom to exercise one’s religion, association, assembly, and expression. It measures a total of 76 indicators.

On this measure the US ranks 20 out of 152 in 2012, the latest year data are available.

Here.

Its more like income maintenance for the family and economic stagnation for the community. There’s no wealth creation or economic growth that will encourage firms to hire more people. It might prevent people from being laid off but not the unemployed to be hired. Here.

Timothy P. Carney ponders why no one “rid the GOP” of Rep. Paul. He has proven to be correct in his prognostications of government policy, from housing subsidies, to wars, to cutting taxes while increasing spending.

One reason the bipartisan establishment finds Paul so obnoxious is how much the past four years have proven him correct — on the housing bubble, on the economy, on our foreign misadventures, and on our national debt.

Shunning Paul would be the equivalent of silencing critics through campaign finance “reform”, ie, infringing on First Amendment rights, or relying goons as Sen. Durbin (D-IL) did when he was recently confronted by a journalist from the Washington Times about him blaming the Tea Party for S&P’s downgrade.

It has taken me some time to understand Rep. Paul’s arguments about the Federal Reserve, government spending, and military. But now I do. I recommend you take the time also because he is the only presidential candidate, including President Obama, with the ideas to fix this economy.

The Federal Reserve allows politicians to spend wildly two ways. One, by keeping interest rates low the government can sell bonds at low interest rates thereby keeping financing costs low. That encourages politicians to spend and offer tax credits because they have a cheap source of financing for economically inefficient policies. Two, the Federal Reserve can buy those bonds directly in the open market as it has done with QE1 and QE2. None of this cannot happen with a gold-based currency.

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