Incentives Matter: The Nanny State

Don’t think that incentives matter?

Don’t think that government programs that enlarge the nanny state don’t result in poor behavior?

Think again.

When we pay people not to work, and then extend that incentive for more and more weeks, the natural state of man is to maximize his outcomes.

And this is an example of it taken to extreme:

Hours before unemployment officials were to determine whether he was physically fit for work, an Austrian man sawed off his left foot with an electric saw, Austrian broadcaster ORF reported.

The 56-year-old man had just learned that his benefits could be slashed if he did not accept work found for him, the Daily Mail reported.

And just how far was this man willing to go?

He reportedly placed the severed foot in a wood stove to make sure doctors could not reattach it to his leg.

He burnt his foot so that doctors could not reattach it thereby enabling him to take work.

His defense?

He wants to work, but gets nothing suitable,” Monika, Url’s wife of 36 years, told the Kronen Zeitung. “My husband felt so worthless.”

The rescue helicopter was waiting in front of the house when Monika returned. “Now I know that my husband was very scared of this health examination,” she told the Krone. “He wants to work. But the job he imagines for himself doesn’t exist.”

How horrible.  The man was faced with taking a job that didn’t fit his imaged perfect job.


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