Matthew Yglesias

"One concept that I was surprised to see both sides of the debate leave off the table is full employment. Nothing is quite so empowering in the workplace as the knowledge that if your boss is a jerk, you'd be able to quit and go get a roughly similar job with a less jerky boss. Even a guaranteed social minimum isn't nearly as good as another job because there's disapprobrium attached to being unemployed. In a world of human beings, some bosses are always going to be two standard deviations jerkier than the average boss. Full employment punishes asshole bosses as a class rather than seeking to bureaucratically circumscribe them with a narrow list of specific prohibited abuses. Conversely, most of the pragmatic economic arguments against labor market regulation are developed assuming a background condition of full employment. If governments are going to fail to deliver full employment over extended periods of time (as the governments in the United States, European Union, Japan, and the United Kingdom are doing right now), then all those assumptions are thrown out of whack."

Matthew Yglesias, Labor Market Regulation and the Freedom Red Herring, Slate (July 4, 2012)

President Theodore Roosevelt

"If you had any conception of the true American spirit you would know we don't have "classes" at all on this side of the water."

President Theodore Roosevelt, Letter to Denis Donahue Jr (October 22, 1886)

Robert H. Frank

"One possibility is government-sponsored employment coupled with negative income tax payments that are too small to live on, even in large groups. Most low-income people would continue working for private employers, as they now do under the earned-income tax credit. For others, government would stand as an employer of last resort. With adequate supervision and training, even the unskilled can perform many useful tasks. They can plant seedlings on eroding hillsides, for example, or remove graffiti from public spaces. They can transport the elderly and handicapped. Coupled with low negative income tax payments, wages from public service or private employment could lift everyone from poverty. This combination would provide no incentive to go on the dole."

Robert H. Frank, The Other Milton Friedman: A Conservative With a Social Welfare Program, New York Times, November 23, 2006 

Senator Robert Taft

"The extreme philosophy the other way is to "let the devil take the hindmost," and let those who are unable to keep up suffer poverty and hardship, on the theory that in the end general progress will be faster. I read a book recently, based on this philosophy, claiming that slums are necessary to drain off the ills of the body politic, just as sewers are necessary to a city. Without arguing the economics of this theory, it is enough to say that it offends every humane sense, and that Americans are humane people. If the free enterprise system does not do its best to prevent hardship and poverty, even for those who can't be shown to deserve it, it will find itself superseded by a less progressive system which does."

Senator Robert A. Taft, 1946