Major part of story omitted by Teen Vogue in push for own agenda

March 21, 2023

By Tim Worstall

Teen Vogue pushes propaganda at its readers rather than educating them in a piece published this week. Given that Teen Vogue’s own tagline is “Educating the influencers of tomorrow,” that’s really not what they’re supposed to be doing.

The specific subject here is welfare, aid to those in poverty. The argument is lightly dressed up as being about abortion restrictions. If women are to be forced to have kids then… which is a fairly vile way to frame the issue. Leave that aside and Teen Vogue is still wrong here.

Their argument is that instead of having the mix of anti-poverty programs that we do have – SNAP, the EITC and so on – it would be better to just give poor people cash so that they’re no longer poor. This does have its attractions but then that’s why it’s propaganda. Because all that is talked about is those attractions. The problems don’t get a look in.

The most basic truth about economics is that there are no solutions, there are only trade-offs. So, if educating the young about economics this is what we’ve got to tell them. On the one hand, on the other. The trade-off here about poverty alleviation is that guaranteed incomes, basic incomes, cash handouts, we’ve tried them. That’s what the old welfare system was. The one we reformed started in the 1970s through to the late 1990s.

Note that control of Congress changed over those decades, and different parties held the presidency. But still, welfare was reformed because it was recognized that the trade-offs with simple cash payments were bad and could be made better by that welfare reform.

That’s why Teen Vogue is doing a disservice to its young readers, that’s why it’s misleading them with propaganda. It’s not telling them that we used to do what it is recommending now. Also, we stopped doing what they’re recommending now. There are entire libraries – no, really – written on the subject of welfare reform, how best to alleviate poverty with the best trade-offs. The old system being recommended again didn’t cut it which is why we stopped using it.

That’s the disinformation here, the misleading of the readership. There are many solutions which sound quite lovely and we should implement them right now. Telling the young that is to mislead them. Precisely because so many of those simple and lovely sounding solutions have already been tried over the years which is why we now have the different systems we do have now.

Education, all too often, is really not to tell of plans to make the world better. Rather, it’s to teach why the world is the way that it is – because those grand plans for better have that awful habit of not working out. Like socialism itself, sounds great, just doesn’t work when you add human beings to the mix.  The same is true of cash welfare. It ticks all the right boxes except the one of actually working and thereby making the world a better place.

If Teen Vogue’s self-proclaimed task is to educate those now young and future influencers, it would be rather better if they did educate rather than propagandize for already failed ideas.


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