Friday, August 1, 2014

Don Watkins on Paul Ryan’s Welfare State Reforms

In a blog post exploring House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s welfare state reform plan, the Ayn Rand Institute’s Don Watkins takes aim at a common fallacy; that being against the welfare state automatically means being against any organized means of assisting people who need help in life. Watkins writes:  

It is misleading at best to suggest that opponents of the welfare state oppose a “safety net,” if that means they oppose mechanisms and institutions for helping “those who can’t help themselves and for those who just need a helping hand.”

. . . The real question is not whether we should have a “safety net” or not. The question is whether we should have a coercive welfare state. What I find offensive about Ryan’s (and by extension [James] Pethokoukis’s) whole approach is that it doesn’t regard the rights and well-being of those forced to pay for the welfare state as worthy of much, if any, consideration. Instead, it starts by observing that some people are in need and jumps immediately to the question of what welfare state programs would most help them.

But that’s immoral. Just because there are people out there suffering and Ryan wants to help them doesn’t give him the right to concoct schemes that treat you and me and everyone who pays his own way as a means to Ryan’s supposedly noble ends. What about my goals and priorities? What about my right to pursue happiness? What about yours?

Watkins is the author of the just-published book, Rooseveltcare: How Social Security is Sabotaging the Land of Self-Reliance.

Related Reading:

A "Liberal" Newspaper Acknowledges the Welfare State Dilemma

What is Objectivism?—Craig Biddle


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