Moral Hazard and the FHPC

Can you afford your nest?
Any good government must be willing to observe its own practices objectively, and end the practices that are not beneficial to the people. The definitely good actions of government are those that enhance individual freedom, such as the emancipation of slaves, or the extension of voting rights to women. Any socialistic legislation that does not enhance every individual’s freedom is naturally oppressive, and those who perpetuate such legislation show no compassion toward the alleged beneficiaries, but instead subtly but surely affirm that they have no faith in the individuals they wish to help. The latest of these legislations is the Federal Homeowners Preservation Corporation, which hopes to secure homes for those that cannot pay for them.

A person who donates a home to every homeless individual he can find is a philanthropist. “Look what I have done for the people,” this philanthropist might say. This is presumed to be a positive action, but what is the effect of this blanket philanthropy? Conceivably, the average people that paid for their homes will see some unfairness, realizing that they too would have received free homes, had they not been responsible and resourceful in their living. Future generations, having grown up in free homes, will see no necessity to work for their own. This is the moral hazard of philanthropy.

This moral hazard becomes more problematic if it rears its backward head in democratic government. The original philanthropist says, “I will secure more homes for those still in need, if I can be elected.” The philanthropist, we learn, has run out of money, and can only provide more homes by using public funds. It is strongly viewed among the populous that no one should be without a home, and that only sheer evil would trample the efforts of the philanthropist. However, it is not evil, but careful foresight, that is in fact the enemy of the electable philanthropist.

Why would a bird build its own nest, when it can raise its chicks in a nest built by another? The lazy bird is rewarded by the resourceful bird’s efforts, and if the resourceful bird notices, it may realize that it too can stop building nests, and still survive and reproduce successfully. This trend continues until there are no nests left, and an unfortunate generation of birds is given the task of relearning how to provide for themselves.

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