In a previous post on the economics profession, I singled out the profession’s weird belief that public policy is about efficiency. Posts like this one are a good example of the weird myopia. How is it possible that fully formed adults cannot know efficiency and efficacy are of no concern to the welfare state?
If anyone really gave a damn about helping the poor, they would stop welfare altogether. You would think people in a racket allegedly designed to study markets would know you get more of what you subsidize. Paying people to be in the underclass means you get a steady supply of people in the underclass.
Welfare is, in part, about buying grace. The over-class loves these cost-free (relative to them) ways to help the poor. Guys like John Forbes Kerry and Joe Biden don’t give real money to charity. Instead, they give other people’s money to these programs. The added bonus is they get to go around the country bragging about how good they are to poor people, despite the fact they are trying to create more of them.
Even better, their kids get to work in non-profits, funded by government, that allegedly help the poor. That way when they take over for dad in the political rackets, they too can brag about being generous with your money. The politicians in a democracy is like a fireman who runs around setting fires he can heroically battle. They create the conditions for an under-class, then claim to helping the under-class.
Another aspect of welfare is aimed at the middle-class. It is riot insurance. Let the Koreans open their cash businesses in the ghetto. Let the cops figure out how to keep the ghetto savages penned up. That’s where welfare comes in. Give them cash to buy a forty ounce, some weed and some bling. Let ’em sell drugs and shoot one another. If that’s what it take to keep them on the reservation, so be it.
The middle-class looks at welfare as a cheap way to deal with the ghetto. Instead of doing the hard work of enforcing social policy that rewards the fit and punishes the maladapted, they happily pay higher taxes to maintain urban reservations. They move to exurbs without public transport in order to avoid the problem. Welfare is not about helping the poor. It is about political piety and reality avoidance.