To review, the two purposes of government are to (a) punish those who do evil, and (b) praise those who do good.
There are two parts to look at in every law: the action of those governed, and the governments reaction to it.
The first question: Is the action of those governed good or evil?
The second question: Is the reaction of the government to praise or to punish?
Fundamentally, it's really that simple. Some examples:
The death penalty for murder.
Murder is evil. Death is a punishment. Good law.
(There are also other punishments for murder such as lifetime incarceration that also punish evil, and there are reasons to further examine how the state implements its most severe punishments.)
Congressional Gold Medal.
The history of the United States has had many heroes. The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest form of praise from the Congress of the United States. Praising those who do good is good law.
Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men (Proverbs 22:29).
When the Republicans won control of the House in 2010, they proposed a change to the Rules of the House that would end most commending resolutions. While there may have been good intentions behind this change, it has resulted in neglect of one of the fundamental roles of government.
Prohibiting the praising of those who do good is bad policy. Good does not need incentives or rewards, but it should be praised by those in authority.
Man should work, and if he's unwilling to work, he shouldn't eat. The natural law punishment for not working is hunger. In such cases, government punishment is not necessary.
Sometimes governments institute policies in defiance of natural law. This is not just a matter of praising those not doing good, but actually rewarding them. So-called "anti-poverty" programs championed by Democrats fall into this category. These would include programs like food stamps and unemployment benefits that pay people when they are not working. These are bad policies.
If someone could live on $1,200 per month, one could also become dependent on that funding if provided by the government. While members of Congress work hard for the American people, they can also lose touch with the effects of their policies on the American people.
Adhering to good criteria for public policies would help avoid unintended consequences.