Wednesday, January 03, 2007


If you want a perfect example of what I was talking about in my post the other day on the redistribution of poverty, then I can't do much better than this article by John Stossel , "Is This Anyway To Help The Homeless?" this morning at RCP:
The health department said it was just looking out for the homeless. But did the officials ever think about where street people eat when they don't eat at these churches?

"They've never stopped me from eating out of a dumpster or a trash can," says James, an astute homeless man who understands Henry Hazlitt's "economics in one lesson," namely, look for the secondary results of government policy. The government can close down the church kitchens, but that'll only send the poor to the garbage cans. Is that better?

"Some of them take their jobs just a little too seriously," said James. "They got nothing better to do than sit around and write legislation."

James has put his finger on another important point: the perverse incentives facing bureaucrats, who get no credit if they never meddle in our peaceful activities.

An old, near-toothless man agreed with James. "I thought they was crazy. I mean, they're [the church people] helping people, and they're trying to stop it."

By "perverse incentives" read: government officials get to feel good (and self-righteous) about doing something "to help the homeless", when in reality their actions only hurt them.

But, they mean well....Expect to see a lot of this in the next 2 years, especially with a Democratically-controlled congress looking out for your welfare.

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