(If you’re just joining this series, feel free to read the previous installments.)
Welfare – Has it Helped the Poor? (Part 3)
Thus far, we’ve looked at how, like most government programs (even the well-intentioned ones), the “War on Poverty” has been both an abject failure in its own right and has caused numerous unintended consequences. The two premises in this “series within a series’ are that:
#1 We do indeed need to help those who cannot help themselves.
#2 Government is not the proper, nor the best qualified, entity to take on this important job.
We’ve discussed some of the problems. But, what is the solution?
Non-proft and for-profit organizations and the individuals who comprise them.
Non-profits have always been the main and most effective helper of the poor. People coming together voluntarily to make sure their fellow human beings are cared for and assisted; both for the immediate and long-term.
When left to do what they do best, non-profit, private charities, both religion-based and secular have a proven record of excellence. They care, they are helpful, they are efficient, and they foster independence rather than dependence (and, when independence is not possible, they continue to provide sustenance).
I’m also a big proponent of “for profit” charitable organizations. These are ventures that would be founded and run by entrepreneurs. They would solicit funds from individuals and companies in order to support one or more types of poor. The big differences between these organizations and the government-run ones would basically be:
#1 The private, for-profit charity would be more accountable to their clients (donors), having to show them exact figures as to where the money would go, how it is spent, and how much they got to keep for their efforts. And, if they cheated and were caught, they’d be held accountable and perhaps face prison time, as opposed to the huge government bureaucracy backed by the full force (literally) and support of the government.
#2 Because this for profit, private charity would be run by a business person with a profit motive it would be run more efficiently. The fact is, private organizations run by someone who has a vested financial interest in its success runs their company much more efficiently than do bureaucrats who will make the same amount of money for not making changes and “messing up the works.”
#3. Those who are “gaming the system” will have no source of “suckers” willing to give them money for free. This also frees up additional monies in order to help more of the truly needy.
#4 Since private taxpayers, by not having to pay into the present wasteful welfare system, will save thousands of dollars per year, they’ll have more to donate to these private, more efficient charities.
#5 Also, for the same reason as the above, those who truly are needy will see more charitable dollars and genuine loving-caring assistance than they ever have before. They will also be empowered and encouraged to help themselves to get off this privately-provided welfare and gain back their self-esteem; self-esteem they can now pass on to their descendants.
People ask, “Do you believe in a safety net?'” Once we redefine the term “safety net” as being provided by individuals and voluntary groups, whether not-for-profit or for-proft as opposed to government, absolutely yes!! But remember, people help people; governments don’t help people. They hurt people. And, even if their intentions are good, their results are not. And good intentions plus negative results, do not equal positive results.
Who are government politicians and bureaucrats anyway to imply that without their force, we won’t help out our needy brothers and sisters, whether for one-time emergencies, or to provide them with a helping hand until they can get to their feet?
In the final part of this mini-series, we’ll look at the ultimate insult of a government-enforced welfare system.