“Making the Welfare State Less Intrusive”

some thoughts from Jesse Walker:

…The sorts of welfare-reform tinkering that interest me most are the ones that cashify and combine programs. By cashify, I mean taking a subsidy with strings attached—food stamps, Section 8 housing vouchers, anything like that—and instead just sending money to the people who qualify for it, letting them choose how to spend it. That way taxpayers can reduce the bureaucratic overhead (and sometimes corporate welfare) involved in administering the program; and that way the clients, who have a better idea than any official of what their needs are, will have more autonomy in how they use the cash. Most of them won’t waste it. Some will, but if the choice is between a society where welfare money gets spent on beer and a society where welfare money gets spent creating elaborate mechanisms to make sure people don’t buy beer, I’m gonna prefer the former.

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About Eve Tushnet

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