Thursday, November 28, 2013

Quote of the day

This moved me, particularly the second sentence.
The State never intentionally confronts a man’s sense, intellectual or moral, but only his body, his senses. It is not armed with superior wit or honesty, but with superior physical strength. I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.
-- Henry David Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience” [1849]
Hat tip FFF

And as I check the link another excellent read appears:

Defenders of the welfare state argue that its purpose is implied in its name: providing for the welfare of its citizens. That is done by the judicious transfer of resources to ensure that even citizens on the lowest rung of the socio-economic ladder have access to the material resources necessary to lead minimally decent lives. The problem is, once you look at actual political outcomes a little more closely, they do not resemble the intentions of the welfare state’s defenders.
 In the United States, very little wealth is transferred from those fortunate enough to live in abundance to those unfortunate enough to have little. For example, some of the chief recipients of transfer payments in the United States are the elderly — those who are most likely to have amassed significant wealth and comfort over the course of their working careers; and the source of the transfer payments is largely the young — those who are just starting out on their careers and have little income or wealth to their names.
I'd take issue with that specific example but the point he makes is otherwise valid. There is a great deal of 'churn' from the haves to the have-nots whose degree of economic separation isn't great. Which only serves to create power and control for bureaucrats.

1 comment:

Brendan said...


You make a good point that is often missed.

The discretionary cash available to a young working family on or just above the average wage, who have a mortgage, is not going to be much different from the same couple living in a State house on welfare.

The first couple is time poor, the other is time rich.

Perhaps in retirement, the first couple will own their own home and may have slightly more discretionary income, however more than half will still be dependent upon the State for support (from memory).

In any event, the ecnomic gap between these two families is much smaller than people imagine, which is your point.

Perhaps that's a contributing reason why 12% of our working age population is on welfare.