Transparency vs. generality

The cause of classical liberalism as a really existing possibility for
political reform has been harmed by bundling free markets with a ban on
transfers. This package deal has influenced people who think justice
requires transfers to eschew free markets. If we had spent the last
forty years hammering away at liberal fundamentals like transparency
and generality instead of the natural right to not be taxed, our
society would now be closer to the free market, limited government

That is from Will Wilkinson, commenting on Asymmetrical Information.  I am personally a bigger fan of transparency than generality, noting that the two often conflict.  What if only some people need helping?  The best policy response won’t be perfectly general, nor should we force it to be. 

Many fiscal conservatives argue that Medicare should be a welfare program and not for all old people.  If you wish to argue that it must be universal to be adequately funded, you are giving up on transparency but holding on to generality.   

Will’s paragraph makes me wonder whether value of transparency is, or ever can be, transparent.


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