This vital consideration of incentives is almost systematically overlooked in the proposals of agitators for more and bigger government welfare schemes. We should all rightly be concerned with the plight of the poor and unfortunate. But the hard two-part question that any plan for relieving poverty must answer is: How can we mitigate the penalties of failure and misfortune without undermining the incentives to effort and success? Most of our would-be reformers and humanitarians simply ignore the second half of this problem. And when those of us who advocate freedom of enterprise are compelled to reject one of these specious “antipoverty” schemes after another on the ground that it will undermine these incentives and in the long run produce more evil than good, we are accused by the demagogues and the thoughtless of being “negative” and stony-hearted obstructionists. But the libertarian must have the strength not to be intimidated by this.
-Henry Hazlitt ( Is Politics Insoluble?)
I have said for years that Progressives are working to not only eliminate all risk to a normal daily life (an impossibility but their view of Utopia requires it) but to do exactly that which is mentioned above – that any bad outcome (“mitigate the penalties of failure and misfortune“) must be born by all of society because all of society is to blame for those bad decisions (e.g., they erase all shame and stigma of individual failure because there is only the collective and no individual agency / individual responsibility).
(H/T: Cafe Hayek)