I was listening to the Dennis Prager radio show the other day when he came up with this gem of a concept. As parents, we reward our children, to a great extent, based on performance. A child who gets A's and does their chores is treated differently than a child who gets F's and refuses to help. As a society, our social programs do not make such a distinction. We all know what the results would be if we failed to differentiate between behaviors in our kids, but we don't use that wisdom in policy.
Over at the UK Housing Bubble blog, they've posted a video wherein a British government official has just toured some blighted town and, while shocked at the terrible things she's seen, goes on to discuss how the residents will be further rewarded by the British taxpayer.
If this is anything like one of our own blighted areas such as Oakland, East St. Louis or New Orleans' 9th Ward, the residents have paid for nothing. The rest of society has provided them with housing, food, clothing, transportation, police and fire services, hospitals, a postal service and on and on and on. In exchange for those rewards from us, they've wrecked the place.
This is exactly what you'd get if you did this in your own family. In a hypothetical family situation: If I rewarded my son's A's the same as my daughter's D's, I would end up with a lot more D's. If I rewarded my daughter's cheerful help the same as my son's laziness, I'd get more laziness. In the end, I'd have kids that laid around all day eating junk food, watching TV and not studying.
Whoa! Did that just describe the British and American underclasses or what? Let's see if the statistics agree. The Gini Index is a measure of income inequality. If you've got a big difference between rich and poor (an unjust society!), the Gini Index will be larger ...
As the Great Society programs gave more and more rewards to the poor without regard for performance, income inequality got worse. As the sexual revolution progressed and no expectations were made of parents to get or stay married, income inequality got worse. It's exactly what you would see in your family.
There was greater income equality in the bad old days when people were prudes and dorks and fascist warmongering red-baiting chauvinist tightwad capitalist pig-dogs.
So where do we go from here? What's the solution? Why, national health care, of course! More rewards regardless of performance! How will we pay for it? By taxing the productive! If we keep trying it hard enough, it's bound to work.
Just like it would in your family.