Friday, March 17, 2006

Getting rid of welfare

Charles Murray, of The Bell Curve fame (see here for an update on that), has written a new, exciting book: In Our Hands (via RealClearPolitics; by the way, check out their revamped site) which advocates dismantling the welfare state. The publisher says:
America's population is wealthier than any in history. Every year, the American government redistributes more than a trillion dollars of that wealth to provide for retirement, health care, and the alleviation of poverty. We still have millions of people without comfortable retirements, without adequate health care, and living in poverty. Only a government can spend so much money so ineffectually. The solution is to give the money to the people.
This is the Plan, a radical new approach to social policy that defies any partisan label. Murray suggests eliminating all welfare transfer programs at the federal, state, and local levels and substituting an annual $10,000 cash grant to everyone age twenty-one or older. In Our Hands describes the financial feasibility of the Plan and its effects on retirement, health care, poverty, marriage and family, work, neighborhoods and civil society.
Charles Murray, whose previous books include Losing Ground and The Bell Curve, demonstrates that the Plan is financially feasible and then uses detailed analysis to argue that many goals of the welfare state – elimination of poverty, comfortable retirement for everyone, universal access to health care – would be better served under the Plan than under the current system. Murray also challenges the Left to confront their own rhetoric about the disadvantaged: why not give real resources and responsibility to them?.
More details here. Admittedly it's not a plan that is likely to be implemented anytime soon, but a compelling proposal it is nonetheless. I would be interested in seeing the details and technicalities of Murray's proposal: hopefully he will soon be illustrating a summary of his plan in the press.

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