chapter  13
14 Pages

The myth is not the reality: Income maintenance and welfare

In this article, Hamilton adds three planks to the institutionalist platform. First, he explains that poverty is not necessary in a modern industrial economy. Since at least 1929 the United States has had the ability to produce enough goods and services to lift every American out of absolute want. Second, he argues that eliminating poverty through adequate income maintenance programs will help stabilize the economy, not bankrupt the society. Third, the rise of the welfare state (income maintenance programs taken as a whole system) is not due to the misguided efforts of liberal politicians but is a practical response to a real social problem: income insecurity in the industrial economy. Take away the practical response and the insecurity will return. It has returned. Hamilton, and institutionalism, are correct. The myths about the welfare state fostering individual irresponsibility, low productivity, and social decline are not true.