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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 6, 2008 / 5 Menachem-Av 5768

A Nation of Thieves

By Walter Williams


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Edgar K. Browning, professor of economics at Texas A&M University, has a new book aptly titled "Stealing from Each Other." Its subtitle, "How the Welfare State Robs Americans of Money and Spirit," goes to the heart of what the book is about. The rise of equalitarian ideology has driven Americans to steal from one another. Browning explains that certain kinds of equality have been a cherished value in America. Equality under the law and, within reason, equality of opportunity is consistent with a free society. Equality of results is an anathema to a free society and within it lie the seeds of tyranny.


Browning entertains a discussion about when inequalities are just or unjust. For example, college graduates earn income higher than high-school dropouts. Some people prefer to work many hours and earn more than others who prefer to work fewer. Students who spend 25 or more hours a week on classroom preparation earn higher grades than students who spend five hours. Most would agree that these inequalities are just. There are other sources of inequalities that are unjust, such as: when incomes result from fraud, corruption, stealing, exploitation, oppression and the like. Such sources of inequality play an insignificant role in producing income inequality in America. Most economists agree that income is closely related to productivity.


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Much of the justification for the welfare state is to reduce income inequality by making income transfers to the poor. Browning provides some statistics that might help us to evaluate the sincerity and truthfulness of this claim. In 2005, total federal, state and local government expenditures on 85 welfare programs were $620 billion. That's larger than national defense ($495 billion) or public education ($472 billion). The 2005 official poverty count was 37 million persons. That means welfare expenditures per poor person were $16,750, or $67,000 for a poor family of four.


Those figures understate poverty expenditures because poor people are recipients of non-welfare programs such as Social Security, Medicare, private charity and uncompensated medical care. The question that naturally arises is if we're spending enough to lift everyone out of poverty, why is there still poverty? The obvious answer is poor people are not receiving all the money being spent in their name. Non-poor people are getting the bulk of it.


Browning's concluding chapter tells us what the welfare state costs us. He acknowledges the non-economic costs such as infringements on liberty and strains on the political process, but focuses on the quantitative economic costs. The disincentive effects of Social Security have reduced the GDP by 10 percent, the federal income tax (as opposed to a proportional tax) by 9 percent and past deficits by 3.5 percent for a total of 22.5 percent. He guesses that welfare programs have reduced GDP by 2.5 percent. The overall effect of redistributionist policies has created incentives that have reduced GDP by a total of 25 percent. Without those, our GDP would be close to $18 trillion instead of $14 trillion.


So what's Browning's solution? First, he reminds us of the biblical admonition "Thou shalt not steal." Government income redistribution programs produce the same result as theft. In fact, that's what a thief does; he redistributes income. The difference between government and thievery is mostly a matter of legality. Browning's solution is captured in the title of his last chapter, "Just Say No," where he proposes, "The federal government shall not adopt any policies that transfer income (resources) from some Americans to other Americans." He agrees with James Madison, the father of our Constitution, who said, "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents."


For years I've used Professor Browning's and his colleague Mark A. Zupan's excellent textbook "Microeconomics: Price Theory and Applications" in my intermediate microeconomics class. "Stealing from Each Other" is a continuation of his academic excellence.

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