Social Darwinism and the Free Market

by David Gordon

In a speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors on April 3, 2012, President Obama called a budget proposal of his Republican opponents in Congress “thinly veiled Social Darwinism.”

What did did the president mean by this comment? The budget proposal in question, he claimed, would require drastic cuts in government programs designed to aid the poor. “And by gutting the very things we need to grow an economy that’s built to last—education and training, research and development, our infrastructure—it is a prescription for decline.” Further, his opponents reject proposals to increase taxes on the rich.

How can anyone favor refusing government aid to the poor and oppose requiring the rich to pay more in taxes? Obama answered that those who think in this way must believe that the welfare of the rich is of primary significance.

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