Blog or Not?

A statistically improbable polymath's views on politics and culture.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003
You've probably noticed that from time to time I have tried to create various "middle paths" between libertarian and liberal ideas on the marketplace, public schools, the tax structure, etc. Just a few minutes ago I came up with an idea that will probably never work, but then, they thought the same thing about

Short description: The Opt-In Welfare State

Long description: You work for the government (federal/state/local) for four years and get all of the benefits of the welfare state (federal health insurance, Medicare, Social Security, unemployment, subsidies,etc.) for the rest of your life, as well as free college education. If you choose not to work for the government for four years, you can either pay a slightly higher tax rate to receive the welfare-state benefits or you can go libertarian, pay the "mininum" tax (which covers stuff everyone shares, like roads, the military, public works, and public education) and forego the welfare state. There can also be "hedge the bet" options where you work for only two years and get half-benefits.

So how did I come up with this model? Simple--it's based upon current practices. We're currently bribing 17, 18 year olds to risk their lives for the next few years in exchange for paying for college and all those sweet veteran's benefits. For idealistic college graduates, the non-governmental Teach for America promises the forgiveness of college loans in exchange for teaching in a low-performing school for a few years. A friend of mine once told me that the Department of Energy will pay for graduate studies in the sciences in exchange for working for them one year. So currently the federal government is funding the college educations of military recruits (who tend to be less well-off) and grad students (whose family backgrounds are typically from the higher half of the socio-economic map).

But if people are given the option of leaving the welfare state, does this mean that all of the money will drain from the pool? And does this put an unfair burden on the poor? Please comment: Tell me if you would opt in to this program, your current economic status, and the economic status you think you'll have twenty years from now.

For example: Me: Would opt in at least partially, on beaucoup de financial aid, fairly secure and comfortable

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