Once legal plunder of the poor for the benefit of the rich has become part of the system, with the support of the majority, how will we be able to reject legal plunder of the rich for the benefit of the poor?

Frédéric Bastiat

Being liberal, Frédéric Bastiat thinks that, more often than not, subsidies are not legitimate and constitute an outright theft from a part of the people by another part to their own benefit.

The reflections of the day pertained to subsidies to high schools (in short, financing national education). We are reminded that, at the time, while there were 300.000 children born each year, only 10.000 of them would attend high school. Being aware of the country’s socio-economical standing, Bastiat points at the fact that a vast majority of these 10.000 children are coming from well-off and rich families (it is not a stretch to think that the 3,5% of children who can make it to high school come from the upper 10% of the population). As a consequence, financing the studies of these 10.000 kids through taxes is synonymous to make the poor pay for the investments of the rich (one century later, Milton Friedman would expose the same issue for the access to university in the United States).

Ethically, this is subject to debate but as today’s quote points to, it is politically rewarding for those who want to increase the role of government in the economy.

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