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Editor's Pick

The Solution to Every Problem Is Not Another Government Program

David Boaz

The Washington Post reports:

[Maryland Gov. Wes] Moore is not close to accomplishing his moonshot goals — among them, eliminating child poverty and reducing the overincarceration of young Black men — but has faced little criticism for it. He heads into a second year with less‐​favorable financial headwinds and even more aspirations. Among them: growing the state’s economy, helping women who want to rejoin the workforce and fixing a yawning affordable housing crisis — complex problems that take time and deep resources to address.

Sigh. So many assumptions built into that last phrase, “complex problems that take time and deep resources to address.” Time, maybe. Change takes time. But more resources than the state of Maryland has? Not really.

Take a look at the problems:

  • eliminating child poverty. The best way to eliminate poverty is to eliminate the regulations that block investment, entrepreneurship, and economic growth. Growth means more and better jobs.
  • reducing the overincarceration of young Black men. Repeal laws against the use and sale of drugs, and other victimless crimes, and then you won’t be arresting and incarcerating so many young Black men. Save jail for violent or dangerous criminals. No new resources needed. Indeed, resources are freed up for other purposes. Also, Baltimore in particular has terrible schools. Give families, including poor families, a chance to choose better schools.
  • growing the state’s economy. Deregulation and lower taxes would help. Take a look at the policies of the states that score highest on economic freedom, New Hampshire, Florida, and South Dakota, or even number 18, Virginia.
  • helping women who want to rejoin the workforce. The deregulations noted above will mean more jobs for everyone.
  • fixing a yawning affordable housing crisis. Let. People. Build. More. Housing.

So many problems, and so many people whose immediate instinct is, “What new government program or agency can solve this problem that government programs have not solved in years?” Try asking, “Are there government programs that are preventing people from improving this situation?”

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