Via Walid Zafar, a curious proposal from Rep Louis Gohmert:
We have people on welfare and I know there’s some that just don’t wanna work, but there’s some that do. How ‘bout if instead of the welfare, we give ’em an alternative. We’ll give you so many acres that can provide land where you can live off of it, make a living and we’ll give you seed money to start, but you have to sign an agreement that you’ll never accept welfare again. How ‘bout that? We got plenty of land.
Check it out:
Unknown iFrame situation
Practical issues aside, this is a welcome reminder that America’s free market past is largely a myth. It’s true that taxes and transfer payments were much lower in the 19th century, but the settling of the West was one of the largest big government redistribution schemes of all time. A relatively small number of people were occupying tons of valuable land, so individuals backed by well-armed public employees took it and started handing it out to a bunch of welfare cases (“homesteads”) and favored business interests (railroads) while I guess also auctioning some of it off to help keep the big government ponzi scheme running.
As for Gohmert I’ll just observe that someone genuinely concerned with the fate of poor people would think a little bit harder about this idea from both a logistical and a time-consistency perspective.