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Rollback of Welfare Not the Only Way Out

In today’s TIA Daily, Robert Tracinski mentioned the Washington Posts’s Robert Samuelson’s continual apoplexy over the U.S. governments reckless course towards insolvency, and he concluded, “The bills are coming due for the welfare state, and the result is that we are entering a period of permanent fiscal crisis—a crisis that can only be solved if we decide to begin rolling back the welfare state.”

I would like to respectfully take issue with one word in that conclusion: only. Certainly, a rollback of entitlements would slow the inevitable decline of the state, but it’s not the only way, nor the most likely. Imagine the federal government coming to a consensus such as, “we just can’t afford it right now, so we’re halting subsidies for agriculture.” That’s an unlikely fantasy. What seems more plausible is a sudden disappearance of multiple programs, and the ones who’s beneficiaries have the least pull. Realistically, you can already see this. Big corporations get giant bailouts but schools want for funding.

It seems more likely that we will find decisions to cutback left unmade but made for us thanks to the hard facts of reality. These government programs will meet their just ends, and there will certainly be strong emotional reactions, tantrums even. I’m speaking euphemistically–I won’t be surprised when there are riots.

Some of these basic services our parents and grandparents handed over to the government are necessary and desired. (Being able to drive around on pavement is nice!) When the government fails to provide them, an opportunity might be seized. Without the a gun-powered monopoly chasing entrepreneurs away, what kind of wonderful solutions can we expect? I’m not sure, but I have been considering how I might help. Is anyone else thinking about how a collapse will provide an unprecedented chance to be productive?