We try to equalize before the others have scored.
To draw around the whole nation the strength of the General Government, as a barrier against foreign foes,… to equalize and moderate the public contributions, that while the requisite services are invited by due renumeration, nothing beyond this may exist to attract the attention of our citizens from the pursuits of useful industry, nor unjustly to burthen those who continue in those pursuits these are functions of the General Government on which you have a right to call.President Thomas Jefferson, letter to Amos Marsh, November 20, 1801, reported in ed., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Andrew A. Lipscomb, vol. 10, p. 293 (1903).
Through the lens of the Jock/Nerd Theory of History, the welfare state doesn’t look like a serious effort to "equalize outcomes." It looks more like a serious effort to block the "revenge of the nerds"—to keep them from using their financial success to unseat the jocks on every dimension of social status.bryan caplan