Tag Archives: Welfare

Get Government out of the Welfare Business, by Lee Friday

Like most everything the government does, it fights poverty poorly. From Lee Friday at mises.org:

Fighting poverty is a favorite pastime of government because politicians get to portray themselves as champions of the poor. However, the unfortunate few tend to be far fewer in number when aid is extended privately instead of through tax funded programs.

Government Bureaucracies Benefit from Welfare Programs

Coercion is used to acquire the revenue (taxes) to finance welfare programs. As evidenced by the commission it retains prior to redistributing this wealth, government bureaucracies are one of the beneficiaries of these programs, and thus highly incentivized to claim a perpetual need for the programs. I live in Canada, where the number of federal government welfare program employees increased by 43% between 2006 and 2012. Clearly, it serves the interests of politicians and bureaucrats to create (impose) a culture of dependency. As Murray Rothbard wrote in For a New Liberty:

Since welfare families are paid proportionately to the number of their children, the system provides an important subsidy for the production or more children. Furthermore, the people being induced to have more children are precisely those who can afford it least; the result can only be to perpetuate their dependence on welfare, and, in fact, to develop generations who are permanently dependent on the welfare dole.

Economist Thomas Sowell wrote:

The black family, which had survived centuries of slavery and discrimination, began rapidly disintegrating in the liberal welfare state that subsidized unwed pregnancy and changed welfare from an emergency rescue to a way of life.

The government exacerbates the problems it is supposedly trying to solve.

Why Private Aid is Superior to Public Aid

Drawing on the work of David Beito, historian Hildegard Hoeller describes the presence of decentralized systems of mutual aid:

Regardless of where they came from, the members of nearly all ethnic and national groups erected formidable networks of individual and collective self-help for protection. These social welfare systems fell into two broad categories: hierarchical and reciprocal relief.

To continue reading: Get Government out of the Welfare Business

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The Welfare State’s Legacy, by Walter E. Williams

Government has hurt far more than helped blacks. From Walter E. Williams at lewrockwell.com:

That the problems of today’s black Americans are a result of a legacy of slavery, racial discrimination and poverty has achieved an axiomatic status, thought to be self-evident and beyond question. This is what academics and the civil rights establishment have taught. But as with so much of what’s claimed by leftists, there is little evidence to support it.

The No. 1 problem among blacks is the effects stemming from a very weak family structure. Children from fatherless homes are likelier to drop out of high school, die by suicide, have behavioral disorders, join gangs, commit crimes and end up in prison. They are also likelier to live in poverty-stricken households. But is the weak black family a legacy of slavery? In 1960, just 22 percent of black children were raised in single-parent families. Fifty years later, more than 70 percent of black children were raised in single-parent families. Here’s my question: Was the increase in single-parent black families after 1960 a legacy of slavery, or might it be a legacy of the welfare state ushered in by the War on Poverty?

According to the 1938 Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, that year 11 percent of black children were born to unwed mothers. Today about 75 percent of black children are born to unwed mothers. Is that supposed to be a delayed response to the legacy of slavery? The bottom line is that the black family was stronger the first 100 years after slavery than during what will be the second 100 years.

At one time, almost all black families were poor, regardless of whether one or both parents were present. Today roughly 30 percent of blacks are poor. However, two-parent black families are rarely poor. Only 8 percent of black married-couple families live in poverty. Among black families in which both the husband and wife work full time, the poverty rate is under 5 percent. Poverty in black families headed by single women is 37 percent. The undeniable truth is that neither slavery nor Jim Crow nor the harshest racism has decimated the black family the way the welfare state has.

To continue reading: The Welfare State’s Legacy

Welfare is the new work, by Stephen Moore

It’s getting easier and easier to live on somebody else’s dime, and harder and harder to make it on one’s own. From Stephen Moore on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:

Two recent news stories highlight how pernicious the welfare state has become in America today.

The first was an announcement by the feds that food stamps can be used to have groceries delivered right to a recipient’s door. Service with a smile. The Obama administration says it is too much of a hardship for those on welfare to actually travel to the grocery store. What’s next? Cooking the meal for them? If only the DMV would do home deliveries for drivers The second story was about the hullabaloo over a proposal by Maine governor Paul LePage to prohibit food stamp recipients from using their food aid to purchase junk foods like sugary soft drinks and candy bars.

He says that the state has an obesity problem and he will “implement reform unilaterally or cease Maine’s administration of the food stamp program altogether.” The Obama administration rejected his request and the left activists act as if the idea that a welfare recipient can’t buy a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream at taxpayer expense is a violation of civil liberties.

The welfare/entitlement state of mind has spiraled out of control in America. No one is lifting a finger of opposition. The cost of welfare is now well over $1 trillion a year. Food stamps are so ubiquitous that they have replaced dollars as the new standard currency in many inner cities in America. Even in affluent areas with upscale grocery stores, food stamp recipients fill their carts with everything from cakes to lobster.

Liberals love welfare. It was only a few years ago that Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi opined that putting more people on food stamps and unemployment insurance is one of the “best ways to stimulate the economy.” Which is more astonishing? That she believes this lunacy or that she would be dumb enough to say it out loud.

We are in the seventh year of a so-called recovery, yet 45 million Americans depend on taxpayers to put food on their table. This is roughly 5 million more than when President Obama took office. Medicaid rolls have exploded by more than 10 million, too, and Mr. Obama openly boasts about how many people he’s moved into the program. Unemployment insurance beneficiaries have fallen, thankfully, but the number of Americans collecting disability has continued to climb. Wow this is some recovery.

By the way, disability rolls are growing even as worker safety has hit an all-time high. Shouldn’t safety and automation mean fewer disabled workers? The reality, as everyone in the welfare industry knows, is that food stamps and disability are the new welfare. Neither one of them requires work in exchange for benefits.

No one wants to admit that the ease of entry into the welfare state and the generosity of the benefits is one big reason why labor force participation has collapsed. Why work?

Welfare expert Peter Ferrara notes that a big instigator for the welfare state expansion has been the decimation of welfare reform laws passed in 1996. “It’s infuriating that a law that worked incredibly well in lowering costs and getting the unemployed into the workforce, has been largely gutted,” he concludes.

To continue reading: Welfare is the new work