Is the Government an Efficient Charity?
in 1979, households in the bottom quintile received more than 50 percent of all transfer payments. In 2007, similar households received about 35 percent of transfers.
Many people interpreted my essay on the decline of middle-class jobs as an excuse/appeal for government to redistribute income. In fact, as I thought I made clear in the essay, I think that government is a lousy vehicle for redistributing income. Any private relief organization that gave only 35 percent of its transfers to the neediest households would be viewed as scandalously mismanaged. Donors would withdraw support and give their money elsewhere. It will be a great day when we can withdraw support for government and give make our donations to organizations that are better managed.