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Great Society and the Republican Welfare State

  • History of Liberty Seminar 2001
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03/01/2004Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

Thomas Sowell’s book, Civil Rights, lays bare many of the myths of the Great Society. What did ordinary people do before an advanced welfare state? Anti-poverty programs like the 1965 Job Corps did not turn out well. There was less poverty before the programs. Federal aid to education, like Head Start, did not stop any cycle of poverty. There was no difference in performance.

Medicare for the elderly drove prices up everywhere while the average aged person was not better off. Medicaid for the poor was simply a transfer program. The poor were hooked on the handouts because they were rewarded for not working. Social welfare policy makes being poor attractive. Tax-free benefits gave recipients income that was well above what they could earn. Destructive signals are sent by underclass policies. Welfare spending drives out private charitable giving.

From the 2001 History of Liberty seminar.

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Contact Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

Tom Woods, a senior fellow of the Mises Institute, is the author of a dozen books, most recently Real Dissent: A Libertarian Sets Fire to the Index Card of Allowable Opinion. Tom's articles have appeared in dozens of popular and scholarly periodicals, and his books have been translated into a dozen languages. Tom hosts the Tom Woods Show, a libertarian podcast that releases a new episode every weekday. With Bob Murphy, he co-hosts Contra Krugman, a weekly podcast that refutes Paul Krugman's New York Times column.

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