The Stone City

Words Made to Last

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Safety Web

R. Alex Whitlock, commenting on a previous post of mine, writes:
I prefer limited government, but to be blunt giving many of these displaced people a check is signing their death warrant because many amongst the poor have made self-destructive decisions that keep them poor. That kind of self-destruction in the form of a block grant could be an explosion.

I agree that many potential grant recipients, with a track record of poor decision making, would not be kept out of trouble by the receipt of a large block grant. Many of those dependent on the safety web [a better name than "safety net", I think, since it alludes to the web's tendency to enmesh those whom it supports] are dependent precisely because they cannot reliably plan for the future. Thus Mr. Whitlock's fears are justified.

I believe that housing vouchers [apparently now approved by the Senate] are not very prone to this kind of abuse, and thus deserve support. Many reconstruction measures, which would build infrastructure in areas chosen by politicians and bureaucrats, would effectively harness the poor for the enrichment of the chosen few.