Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A plan to replace the welfare state?!

Charles Murray: In our hands: A plan to replace the welfare state - 31 Mar 2006 - Books

Very interesting book review. I wish I'd written it :)

The book reviewed has a startling idea, but one that I can really imagine working:

"First, Murray proposes to do away with all government transfer payments, including such social welfare programs as Medicare and Social Security, with agricultural and corporate subsidies.

This much should be expected, I suppose, from the author of Why I Am a Libertarian.

But wait. Then comes the second part.

Murray proposes a radical, and completely un-libertarian, redistribution of wealth. All the money that now funds the nation's welfare programmes (social and corporate) would be returned in the form of a $10,000 annual cash payment to every American over the age of 21."

I think it's precisely because I can imagine it working that it would work. It's kind of out-there, but it is understandable, both to economists and to the everyday people who would receive such a payment.

And that's the thing. Some solutions to problems can be fantastic, but they can also be complex. Only when the solution can be articulated in a simple format will it catch on.


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