Nicholas Kristof has a must-read editorial in the NY Times. Kristof looks at the conservative mantra that government assistance reduces initiative, causes dependence, and increases the deficit — and agrees!
He helpfully suggests five public welfare programs are wasteful and have turned us into a nation of “takers”. They should be eliminated as quickly as possible:
- Welfare subsidies for private planes. Astonishingly, the US government offers three different kinds of subsidies to tycoons with private jets. Even Dubya tried but failed to eliminate some of this boondoggle.
- Likewise, subsidies for yachts. Here we have direct evidence that this has increased dependence, as the owner of a $2.6 million yacht complaining about efforts to end this subsidy, “It is so unfair to target people who want to use their boat as a second home.”
- Government welfare for hedge funds and private equity. This has been called the single most outrageous tax loophole in America. Ronald Reagan eliminated this loophole, but it has snuck back. Freedom requires eternal vigilance.
- The $83 billion a year subsidy to the too-big-to-fail banks. We’ve seen what that buys us!
- And finally, tax subsidies paid by cities, counties, and states to big corporations to build factories and offices locally. This is one of my pet peeves. It is normally done in the name of creating jobs, but it does not create any jobs (it just moves them from somewhere else). In fact, by starving local governments of money, it hurts infrastructure, which destroys jobs.
Yes, America has become a welfare state. A welfare state for the top 1%, sapping their initiative and even worse, causing economic bubbles. No wonder we are worried about our economy. It is time to act.