Paulson’s War Against Shame

Conservatives have rightly blamed the welfare state for weakening the formerly strong stigma which had kept the poor independent of government.

In The Tragedy of American Compassion, for example, Marvin Olasky faults Frances Fox Piven, Michael Harrington and other leftists for waging a “War Against Shame” during the 1960s that created more welfare dependents.

Now, Henry Paulson has done Piven one better. He has urged bankers to take government money as a patriotic duty: “Paulson said he wanted healthy institutions that did not necessarily need capital from the government to go first as a way of removing any stigma that might be associated with banks getting bailouts.”

David Beito is a Research Fellow at The Independent Institute and editor of the Independent book, The Voluntary City: Choice, Community, and Civil Society (with Peter Gordon and Alexander Tabarrok).
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