Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A thing to behold

Charles Murray does the math and shows that we are rich enough to engage in serious redistribution but without the politicians and without an army of bureaucrats.

In today's WSJ, Murray describes "A Plan to Replace the Welfare State ... Give every American $10,000 a year -- and nothing else." And require that $3,000 per year must be spent on health care. Job lock-in would disappear. Incentives to build families would increase. It is all elaborated in his new book, In Our Hands, How to end poverty and restore the American Dream.

The plan is bold, provocative, and (as they say) dead on arrival. Yet the mountains of literature on how to tinker with what we have amounts to a failure of imagination. Bold strokes are welcome.

Productivity is surging and will only accelerate. It is the New Economy of unprecedented wealth. All that we are missing is the good sense to move ahead with sensible redistribution.

When Milton Friedman proposed school vouchers many years ago, the idea was also radical; it now has every teachers' union on the defensive. The power of good ideas is a thing to behold.