ing and loan associations, as Linda Shopes noted in The Baltim re B k. By 1929, 60 percent of Polish families were homeowners—without any government assistance.
Today, after more than 50 years of the wel- fare state, and after spending $5 trillion on anti- poverty programs since the mid-1960s, Baltimore and other American cities are struggling for sur- vival. Self-reliance has given way to dependence and a loss of respect for persons and property.
The inner-city landscape is cluttered with crime-infested public housing and public schools that are mostly dreadful, dangerous, and amoral
where one learns more about survival than
virtue. And the way to survive is not to take responsibility for one’s own life and family, but to vote for politicians who have the power to keep the welfare checks rolling. Dysfunctional behavior now seems almost normal as people are shot daily and the vast majority of inner-city births are to unwed mothers receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children. In addition to the moral decay, high ta rates and regulatory overkill have driven businesses and ta payers out of the city and slowed economic develop- ment. It’s not a pretty picture.
In sum, the growth of government and the rise of the “transfer society” have undermined
“The internal moral compass that normally guides individual ehavior will no longer function when the state undermines incen- tives for moral conduct and lurs the dis- tinction etween right and wrong.”
the work ethic and substituted an ethos of depen- dence for an ethos of liberty and responsibility. Virtue and civil society have suffered in the process, as has economic welfare.
The R le f G vernment: C nflicting Visi ns
Market-Li eral Vision The Founding Fathers recognized that the nature of government is force, and they sought to limit