by Henry Hazlitt
From the beginning of history sincere reformers as well as demagogues have sought to abolish or at least to alleviate poverty through state action. In most cases their proposed remedies have only served to make the problem worse.
The most frequent and popular of these proposed remedies has been the simple one of seizing from the rich to give to the poor. This remedy has taken a thousand different forms, but they all come down to this. The wealth is to be “shared,” to be redistributed,” to be “equalized.” In fact, in the minds of many reformers it is not poverty that is the chief evil but inequality.
These direct redistribution schemes (including “land reform” and “the guaranteed income” ) are so immediately relevant to the problem of poverty that they warrant separate treatment.