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The Welfare State

More than fifty years ago one of the greatest economists of the twentieth century, Wilhelm Roepke, wrote an essay titled "Robbing Peter to Pay Paul: Nature of the Welfare State".  As our President goes to Denver to sign the "stimulus" bill, expanding the welfare state more in one single bill than ever before, it is a good time to look back at Professor Roepke's words.

To let someone else foot the bill is, in fact, a general characteristic of the welfare state . . . the point is not only that someone else pays , but that he is forced to do so by order of the state.  That the welfare state necessarily implies compulsion is defensible, for how else could its aims be achieved?  What is wholly indefensible is any attempt to suppress, obscure, or simply deny this inconvenient and ugly fact.  ... 
it is equally clear that the welfare state is an evil the same as each and every restriction of freedom." (Against the Tide, pp. 211-12)


These are strong words indeed, but they are true.  The truth about the compulsory welfare state must be spoken.

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