The letter-to-the-editor libertarian Kevin Ellicott sent to the Rutland Herald.
Punishing the poor ? A Libertarian Response
In response to Karis Williams? letter of May 5, 2006, let me express my concern for her plight. I can see from her letter that she?s very upset by the government?s failure to give her enough charity money to support herself, her husband and her children while she tries to better herself through education.
But I?d like to suggest that her anger is misdirected. Instead of faulting the government for the way it calculates the amount of tax money it gives away, she should consider being appalled by the way our legislators have regulated our economy so it looks more like a third-world country. I feel badly that her husband can?t earn enough money in Vermont to support his family. That?s something we can all empathize with.
Ms. Williams is probably right, she?s a whole lot more likely to get more free money from the pockets of other hard working, taxpaying Vermonters by complaining about how Section 8 giveaways are calculated. Given the number of people in Vermont who honestly believe that ?from each according to his ability, to each according to his need?, is our future economic theory, her complaint may accomplish something. But in the spirit of the apparently discredited ?Protestant Work Ethic?, I hope she?ll reconsider this approach and speak out about the current ?entitlement? mentality and press her legislators to give us back the freedom to have an economy where her husband gets the opportunity to support his family, without needing charity from the government.
Ms. Williams doesn?t want to be poor, and I don?t want her to be poor. Seems the only people who benefit from poverty are the politicians who run on a promise to make the poor more comfortable. I just happen to be one of those wacky people who think we produce a better society when we make more opportunities for people to support themselves and stop being poor, than when we argue about how much or how little charity the government should be giving the poor, to meet their basic needs. I believe the future of Vermont should include an economy where the only poor are those unwilling to work, rather than someone like Ms. Williams and her family. It?s not a question of how much tax payer money we can give away, it?s a question of how much economic opportunity is available for people to make a better life for themselves. And with 45% of this state?s population needing either Medicaid or Medicare, it?s pretty obvious that our current economic model is a tragic failure.
Kevin Ellicott ? Libertarian