[ExI] The choice wasn't death/was Re: Friedman and negative income tax

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Fri May 8 04:44:24 UTC 2009

Dan wrote:

 >> And it would have been better if they had been allowed to
 >> starve, denied education and health care etc.?
 > I don't believe that was the alternative.  The people
 > I knew were, as I pointed out (at least as far I could
 > tell or as they reported to me), able-bodied.  It
 > seemed to me they chose the dole over work -- not
 > that they chose the dole over death.  (Regarding
 > the latter, I don't think I'd fault someone for
 > choosing the dole over death.)

I myself came close to having that choice. At age
29, I was a retired chess bum/teacher with no
marketable skills. At the same time, many busy,
eager Social Security office workers were looking
for people just like me to put on the dole. One
of the greatest strokes of luck in my life is that
they didn't find me in time.

So I had to leave southern California, all my chess
pals, all the distractions of life that I had
accumulated in my misspent youth, and focus on
making a living. Thank goodness.

Heretofore the government has been destroying
people's incentives and lives by a sort of "mass
bombing" of funds, especially into lower income
urban areas, in order to maximize the number of

What the government needs is "smart bombs", i.e.,
means of locating people such myself decades ago
that can be targeted when they're on the brink
of having to make sacrifices to become productive.

Certain bureaucrats at the Social Security office
(and many, many other departments) need more
intelligent ways to seek out and find people on
the border of personal responsibility, instead
of wasting all that money (in so many cases) on
people whose lives are already wrecked.


 > Also, I'm not sure how they were denied education
 > or health care.  In the places I lived, education
 > was mandatory, usually up to the age of 16 --
 > though I was specifically talking about able-bodied
 > adults.  Also, healthcare was provided through
 > Medicaid and similar programs -- so it was free.
 > I wasn't talking about that either.  I wasn't
 > talking about people who were working and choose
 > to accept government education and healthcare.
 > I was talking about people who were NOT working,
 > who could work, and opted for the easy payment
 > of a government check over finding and keeping
 > a job.

 > My general point was merely what I saw when
 > people had the alternative not to work.
 > Many of them chose not to work.  They didn't
 > do so so that they could continue their education,
 > pursue some artistic project, or something along
 > those lines.
 > Regards,
 > Dan

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