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John Stossel and Charles Murray on the Welfare State — A Way Out?

Posted: July 30, 2013 at 10:00 am   /   by

At the 2013 Stossel Freedom Fest, John Stossel, Charles Murray, and Larry Reed discussed the history of welfare and possible ways out of the dilemma that a massive, growing welfare state has created for America.

Some fear we’ve already passed the point of no return on the welfare state — too many have become dependent on the state, and the pace under Obama has only been accelerating.  The mostly libertarian audience at Freedom Fest seemed to favor an outright end to welfare.  Charles Murray thinks our country could recover from that shock, and people would not be starving in the streets.

However —

While ending welfare might be theoretically best, it is completely impractical in a political sense, says Murray.  In this 8-minute video, you can hear a sketch of Murray’s proposed solution.  Thanks to its simplicity, it could virtually eliminate fraud, it could much better control total welfare expenditures, and it could eliminate the need for several federal agencies (ooh-rah!).  Most importantly, Murray’s plan would cultivate personal responsibility rather than further dependency.

Alas, for all those reasons, the Left would surely hate it.  But to conservatives, that would be just another positive feature of Murray’s plan!

David Leeper

David Leeper

David Leeper is a retired engineer living in Scottsdale, AZ, with his wife of 45 years. He is currently a volunteer science teacher at In his 40-year career he held positions from lab technician to technical vice president at Bell Labs, Motorola, and Intel. He holds 16 patents in telecom technology and a PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. During his career, he wrote mainly for technical journals including Scientific American. He began writing for in 2011.
David Leeper

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John Stossel and Charles Murray on the Welfare State -- A Way Out?