Charity Without the Welfare State

Can we have a safety net that provides relief to people who experience misfortune and need temporary help without creating a permanent class of dependents who face high financial penalties if they get a job and go to work or if they marry the other natural parent of their children?

I answer “yes” in this latest Forbes editorial

Prof. Laurence Kotlikoff has done the pathbreaking work on how means tested welfare discourages work and marriage. Kotlikoff and I don’t agree on everything, but we do agree that we can have a safety network to help people temporarily in need without an income test.

Here is Kotlikoff’s much longer piece on this subject.

Note: this approach would not only reduce inequality, it would do it in the right way.


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