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ABSTRACT. The welfare program is a highly contentious issue in political economy. Proponents claim it is the last best hope for the poor; a safety net, ensuring their economic welfare has a built-in floor supporting it. Opponents maintain it saps initiative, reduces incentives and is a snare and a delusion for the poor, who are, paradoxically, harmed by it. The present paper defends the latter position. The method we pursue in this paper is to examine the welfare system not merely in terms of its short run and superficial benefits: putting more money at the disposal of the poor. We also consider its long-term and very deleterious effects. Our major finding is expressed in the title of this paper: “Welfare Harms Its Ostensible Beneficiaries.” This system has not broken up the families of the poor, and the black community. Rather, it has prevented it from forming in the first place.
JEL codes: I3

Keywords: welfare; poverty; incentives; economic freedom; safety net

How to cite: Fast, Richard, Jessica O’Brien, and Walter E. Block (2017), “Welfare Harms Its Ostensible Beneficiaries,” Economics, Management, and Financial Markets 12(3): 51–63.

Received 20 September 2016 • Received in revised form 14 November 2016
Accepted 14 November 2016 • Available online 26 November 2016

doi:10.22381/EMFM12320173

RICHARD FAST
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Joseph A. Butt, S.J. College of Business,
Loyola University New Orleans
JESSICA O’BRIEN
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Joseph A. Butt, S.J. College of Business,
Loyola University New Orleans
WALTER E. BLOCK
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Joseph A. Butt, S.J. College of Business,
Loyola University New Orleans

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