- Politics and Social Issues
Welfare vs Charity
Today I was driving down town and noticed that there were about five people standing outside of the Walmart parking lot holding the ever popular "occupy" signs. One of them read that we are part of the 99% who have no money. I can't help but feel a little irony as I watched thousands of people driving down the crowded streets of this rural po dunk town I live in hopping from store to store buying last minute Christmas presents, food, and candy for their poor broken homes.
I saw crowded grocery stores, appliance stores, super markets, second hand stores, places that sell trinkets, gadgets, gizmoes, toys, electronics, and all sorts of useful little things that make life more enjoyable. The parking lots were full of cars and trucks owned by all of these thousands upon thousands of poor starving consumers who had not yet [aid a visit to one of the multitude of coffee shops that sell overpriced Dixie cups of lattes, espressos and cappuccinos.
On average Americans give 300 billion dollars a year to charitable organizations. 35% of that charity is from religious organizations. In the year 2011 the American government took by force over 600 billion dollars from the tax payers and distributed it to no income Americans. Half of that money came from the top 1% of America's wealthiest people and the rest came from the upper 50% of America. The rest paid nothing in taxes.
One of the overlooked aspects of today's welfare program is it's original intent. When FDR first signed into law the first antipoverty act he made it clear that this would be a temporary provision to help pull the poor out of poverty.
“The Federal Government must and shall quit this business of relief... Continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration, fundamentally destructive to the national fiber.” -FDR
What he got however, was an institution that made the poor comfortable in poverty, and the American tax payers have been footing the bill by force from the United States government ever since.
It is quite baffling that the liberals who tout the need for increased welfare spending can not see the fact that they want a mandate for the people to hand more money over to politicians and expect the money to be handled properly. The question arises if those people are aware that they are giving bucket loads of cash to politicians.
Politicians have time and again proven that they know how to mismanage money. From the state level to the federal level there should be little debate on the issue, yet this notion that elitism somehow merits moral superiority lives in the hearts of our trusting liberal counterparts.
The long standing fact is when you give the government money, they will assuredly waste it to no end, but when money is given to a worthy charitable cause the outcome will be much different. Under the United States constitution we are all guaranteed the right to the funds which are doled out to the public. Specifically the general welfare clause of the United States constitution was intended so that all members of the union will be benefited, not just the few.
The reason that America is the most charitable country in the world is not because it taxes the wealthy, but quite the opposite. It is because our taxes are relatively low in comparison to other countries. Not only this but the abundance of wealth that has been created due to our flourishing free trade market has enabled us to live comfortably and create the most significant middle class the world has ever seen. We have the best work ethic because we have the ability to see our dreams come to fruition. And this is due to our ability to create wealth out of nothing more than an idea, and we have the drive to make that idea happen.
Just imagine for a minute if there were no government ran social programs. Each and every one of us could take the money that goes into social security and become millionaires. With that kind of money alone we the people would be able to actually build up the charities that we choose. We wouldn't be sitting at home watching those sad commercials about people in starving countries who need our help, we could actually be able to donate real money to them instead of something as insignificant as a daily cup of coffee.
There is no doubt that the government welfare system is being abused. Each year a state ran program gets a projected amount of money from the government. If those people do not spend the same amount of money that year or more they will expect to get less money the next year. This system prompts social workers to find more reasons to keep people on welfare so the program will maintain its funds and everyone gets to keep their jobs of handing out free money. I for one would like to see a system where people want to solve the problem and move on to the next one. And what better institution than, dare I say, volunteer work through the medium of organized religion.
Organized religion is hands down the most accurate method in use that helps the needy. A 2005 study showed that the state of Utah which is 70% LDS spends 14% of their public budget on welfare which is much lower than the national average of 22.4% and is the lowest in the nation for child poverty. This is due partially to the fact that the LDS church advocates tithing and admonishes it's members to fast one day a month and give two meals worth of money to the poor.
The government couldn't even compete with the kind of efficeincy that all the religions could as far as doling out money in it's most useful sense goes. If a few volunteers from every congregation were asked to take a couple of hours out of their week to asses the needs of others struggling in the area it would completely knock social workers off the map. Along with this, once the people who have been taken care of have had their needs met, the job would be finished and the congregation member would no longer be required to seak out more potential reciprients. They would not have to project numbers to secure more income to their upper managment and no one would be in danger of loosing their job as a social worker.