The paper "Nineteen Neglected Consequences of Income Redistribution by Robert Higgs" is a delightful example of an article on finance and accounting. The current welfare system and in general, the overall type of income redistribution in America has become much more complicated and very complex. It had over the years become distorted and skewed away from its original good intentions to help people who are less fortunate in life and help them become productive citizens in a near-future such that they do not become wards of the state. Although there are many adverse and undesirable consequences of a socialist-oriented government welfare system, the original well intentions of those who designed these programs had thought of the excesses of a free-market capitalist economy wherein the rich get richer while the poor get poorer and gets left behind.
It is unworkable for any liberal democracy for such huge gaps in inequality in both incomes and wealth to exist because it undermines the principle of equality. However, the article is to be commended for citing the nineteen undesired consequences of such ill-advised social programs because it discourages people from seeking to increase their income due to excessive taxation in which the recipients of welfare are often undeserving of such help.
A regressive tax system destroys the economy in the long term and also makes society poorer (Higgs para. 7). Response to a student's post – although it is indeed discouraging to pay more taxes in which these are given to people as free benefits without working for them, the other side of an argument like this is to reform the entire system of American income re-distribution to make it much more equitable.
The reforms should look at each income re-distribution payment to see whether it makes sense to continue it, reform it, or just abolish it altogether to avoid leakages. People less fortunate should be helped but only up to a certain point and for a limited time only to prevent creating a culture of dependency and mendicancy but to promote meritocracy.