There is a phrase you hear a lot in Canada, Britain, an Europe to describe the collection of positive "rights" (to "free" health care, unemployment benefits, subsidized public transit) to which the citizens of Western democracies have become addicted: the "social safety net." It has always struck me as an odd term: Obviously, it derives from the circus. But life isn't really a high-wire act, is it? Or at least it didn't use to be. If you put the average chap-or even Barack Obama or Barney Frank-in spangled leotard and tights and on a unicycle and shove him out across the wire, he's likely to fall off. But put the average chap in spangled leotard and tights out into the world and tell him to get a job, find accomodation, raise a family, take responsibility, and he can do it. Or he used to be able to, until the government decided he needed a "safety net."What do you think? True or not? Should government be providing such a "safety net?" If so, how big should the net be?
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Government and the "safety net"
From the inimitable Mark Steyn: