Sponsored Content
« Saturday Gardening Thread: Demon Seed Edition [Y-not, WeirdDave, & KT] | Main | Open Thread: Hide n' Seek [Y-not] »
November 01, 2014

Fundamental Concepts: Subsidy [WeirdDave]

Here's a concept so fundamental I'm embarrassed that I have to bring it up at all, yet many people look at you like you have three heads when you mention it. Are you ready?

Anything you subsidize, you get more of.

That's it. I should end the thread right here and walk away. If you subsidize something, more and more people will try to take acquire the subsidy. OK, you might say, that makes sense, but so what? Water is wet. Why is this an important concept?

It's an important concept because once you understand it, it becomes crystal clear that government "aid" programs MUST always fail at their stated purpose. Last week, we discussed how the greatest government power is the power to spend. It's really the only tool in their toolbox. Yes, they can throw you in jail, but after they do that, then what? They have to spend money to feed and house you, and you can't throw everybody in jail. The only way a government can "aid" anyone is to spend money, and as soon as government does that, people or organizations move to capture the money being spent. Here's an example: Starting in the mid-60s, government moved to "aid" single women with children. A noble goal, you might claim, and you might even be right, but what has happened to the illegitimacy rate since then? In 1964, 8% of children born to whites in the US were illegitimate, it was 26% among blacks. In 2012 those rates had risen to 30% and 72% respectively. Now, government aid is hardly the only factor contributing to the explosion of illegitimacy in this country, social mores have changed drastically as well, but a case can be made that a large factor in the social change was driven by the presence of government aid.

Consider that a woman having a child out of wedlock before the welfare state would incur a huge financial burden, not just on herself but on her family as well. Social mores did not spring forth from a vacuum, they are one way that a society guides it's members towards behavior that is perceived to be beneficial to the individual and to society as a whole. By frowning on out of wedlock births, society limited their occurrence, protecting the individual from the financial penalty of such births, while at the same time limiting the negative financial impact on society as a whole.

After the welfare state, however, the financial consequences to the individual of an out of wedlock birth were, to a large extent, eliminated or at least minimized, is it any wonder that social mores changed as well? The old mores were no longer appropriate or necessary, so naturally they fell away. To come round back to the point, government set out to "aid" single mothers by spending money, and the result was a whole lot more single mothers. It got more of what it subsidized.

Here's a simpler example: student aid. Starting in 1973, the US government decided that it had an interest in helping students pay for college, so they subsidized tuition through loans and grants. Well, you might say, if subsidizing students gets us more students, isn't that a good thing? Yes and no. Yes, more students in the abstract, resulting in a highly educated populous, would be a societal good, but often times no in the specific because colleges started offering more and more garbage degrees in useless disciplines, negating the theoretic good. What is really being subsidized, however, isn't the student, it's the tuition. So what do you suppose happened?


We got more of it. Colleges and universities moved to "capture" the money that government was providing, and tuition rates climbed. Did we at least somehow make college more "affordable" in all of this?


We did not.

Once you understand this concept, it becomes blindingly obvious that the left's fixation on government as the ultimate solution to all of life's ills is a fools delusion. Since the only power the government has to address a societal ill is to throw money at it, very little is going to improve as a result.

digg this
posted by Open Blogger at 02:30 PM

| Access Comments

Recent Comments
Notsothoreau: "Not true. Anyone can keep up with an old golden. T ..."

Wolfus Aurelius, Dreaming of Elsewhere [/i] [/b]: "OT: I'm not thrilled with my "smart" TV. The inte ..."

Wolfus Aurelius, Dreaming of Elsewhere [/i] [/b]: "Mindful, Stirling managed to pull a tiny tuft of f ..."

Captain Obvious, Laird o' the Sea, Radioactive Knight: "Why do Swiss people yodel ? How did THAT get st ..."

JT: "Why do Swiss people yodel ? How did THAT get st ..."

mindful webworker - scritching behind the ears: "Yaaaay Pet Thread Daisy the overly affectionate ..."

Pat*: "Boise area: Sad the eggshell trick won't work, sho ..."

Wolfus Aurelius, Dreaming of Elsewhere [/i] [/b]: "Stirling and Dagny are doing well. Stirling now r ..."

REDACTED: "never met an I robot that was a match for a golden ..."

REDACTED: "I have had many goldens and I loved them terribly ..."

Wolfus Aurelius, Dreaming of Elsewhere [/i] [/b]: "[i]Happy Caturday everyone I do like stories of ..."

Aetius451AD: "Thanks. The penguin weighing video made me laugh m ..."

Recent Entries

Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64