A Strong Welfare State makes America more Entrepreneurial

Out of the pages of the Atlantic comes this article pulling together some recent research and they come to the (not at all surprising) conclusion that having a social safety net improves the entrepreneurial spirit.

The only people this would come as a surprise to would be wingnuts who have the "I got it and I aint sharing" bug. To anyone who thinks about it for more than a few seconds, a strong safety net means that failure is not catastrophic. If you know you will not be utterly destroyed if something goes wrong, you are more willing and able to take risks.

Contrary to claims by the right that welfare keeps immigrants from living up to their historic role as entrepreneurs, CHIP eligibility increased those households’ chances of owning an incorporated business by 28 percent.


It seems that expanding the availability of food stamps increased business formation by making it less risky for entrepreneurs to strike out on their own. Simply knowing that they could fall back on food stamps if their venture failed was enough to make them more likely to take risks.

The right fights against programs that are not expenditures, they are investments. From food stamps to CHIP to welfare, these programs mean not only that the poorest of our nation suffer less, but also that those willing to risk trying do not have to risk it all if they fail.

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