Arnold Kling  

The State as Parent

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In my latest essay, I write


Under the welfare state, government usurps the role of the family in education, health care, and saving for retirement. As economic historian Robert Fogel has pointed out, these are the fastest-growing segments of our economy. Government's role in the economy, as measured by the ratio of taxes and government spending to GDP, is certain to increase sharply as long as we fail to enforce a boundary between family and state.

...What I would like to see is a philosophical movement for the separation of family and state. Such a movement could act as a bulwark against "big-government conservatism." Government should leave children behind and let seniors face the cost of prescription drugs. Those needs should be addressed by families, with support from non-coercive charitable institutions.


Speaking for the big-government conservatives, Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam write,

If Republicans are going to continue making inroads among Hispanics, they need to address their economic aspirations, not their ethnic loyalties. It's upwardly mobile second-and third-generation Mexican-Americans, not recent immigrants, who are likely to turn to the GOP--and wage subsidies for low-income workers, a health care reform that drives down costs, and government support for large families are all more likely to win them over than any amnesty proposal.

Finally, I call your attention to a classic line from Tyler Cowen.

I just don't believe that any political party can be mass-captured by the intelligent and brought around to sanity.


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COMMENTS (1 to date)
Adam writes:

On that note, I think you'll find this quite interesting.

The welfare state may turn the government into a parent, but spoiling your kids is never the answer.

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