Basically, I agree with this gloss on Hayek: there is a difference between "welfare states of law" and "welfare states of administration." The former are objectively good. The latter are best avoided.

First, regulatory regimes which attempt to control the economy through miscellaneous narrow rules rules have greater administrative overhead than regimes with a few broad rules. Administrative overhead is self-perpetuating and self-validating, and should generally be avoided, though it does not generally result (as Hayek thought) in totalitarianism. It results in a total misregulatory shit-show like Italy.

Second, if we accept that coercion is best avoided, states which engage in the minimal coercion required for taxation should avoid compounding the issue by distributing the proceeds coercively. In the United States, for instance, we raise a great deal of money for the poor, then spend most of it in an attempt to tell the poor what to spend it on. Instead, we should just distribute it as basic income, provide voluntary guidance to people who genuinely have no idea how to spend it, and then rely on policing (if absolutely necessary) to regulate the worst expenditures.

This all seems like a relatively simple outlook. Why is it so uncommon?

(H/T: +Alex Scrivener.)
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