Thomas Sowell

The more people who are in a non-income-earning mode, the greater the disparities with the incomes of those of us who have to work for a living, and who have to earn more to offset high tax rates. Yet liberals often act as if this is an injustice to those who don't work, rather than an injustice to those who do work, and whose taxes support those who don't.

Actually, the liberal welfare state is an injustice to both, though in different ways.

Despite whatever good intentions some liberals may have had in creating the ever-growing welfare state, practical politicians know that more dependency means more votes for supporters of bigger government.

There are no incentives for either politicians or the bureaucrats who run the welfare state agencies to get people off their dependency on government programs. Moreover, the eligibility rules create a very high cost to individuals who try to rise by getting a job and earning their own money.

It is not uncommon for someone who is receiving multiple government-provided benefits -- housing subsidies, food subsidies, etc. -- to lose more in benefits than they gain in income, if they decide to take a legitimate and visible job.

If increasing your income by $10,000 a year would cause you to lose $15,000 worth of government benefits, would you do it? That is more than the equivalent of a 100 percent tax rate on income. Even millionaires and billionaires don't pay that high a tax rate.

Liberals don't talk -- or perhaps even think -- in terms of the actual consequences of their policies, when it is so much more pleasant to think in terms of wonderful goals and lofty rhetoric.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate



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