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Liberal_Jihad_Cover.jpg Forward USA

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Only the Feds Can Help the Unfortunate?

Before the New Deal in 1933, nobody would have thought so.

Peter and Helen Evans have a common-sense take on how big government corrupts welfare systems. 

If Not the Government, Who Will Help? on demonstrates the greater effectiveness of delegation of authority when applied to what used to be called charity.  Big corporations have long known that pushing authority and discretion down the line to managers where the rubber meets the road produces better results than trying to call all the shots from corporate HQ.

When aid to the widows and orphans and the otherwise unfortunate is dispensed by local churches or other charity groups, it’s more likely to go to people who need and deserve it.  Making a career of being on welfare is harder when the people running the charity know the beneficiaries personally.

Funding by the Federal government requires that all common-sense discretion be eliminated and the money be handed over as an entitlement to whoever happens to be a member of a legally defined social class.

The authors note that, “Before government intervened, charities proliferated in this country. They are still active, but it’s now easier for those in trouble to get money from the bureaucracy. But they don’t get the moral incentive which is the only thing that will enable them to stand on their own feet.” 

In this same vein, I wrote in The Economics of Liberal Values - Part Two:

“Social Costs of Inflation

Liberals aiming to accelerate the rate of growth in Medicare, Medicaid, prescription drug benefits, and other welfare programs argue that it is unfair to people who can least protect themselves not to do so.?

Most people will agree that ours should be a benevolent society that helps victims of misfortune.? Before the New Deal?s 1935 Social Security program, widows, orphans, the sick, and otherwise unfortunate people had been very effectively cared for by churches, synagogues, immigrant societies, and the tens of thousands of local branches of self-help organizations like the Elks, Loyal Order of the Moose, Woodmen of the World, and several hundred other organizations of similar nature.? One purpose of Social Security expressed by New Deal planners was to kill off these independent self-help societies and to force everyone into the arms of Big Brother.? This was done by making Social Security taxes mandatory and sucking the economic life blood from independent and private groups.”

National-state welfare systems have another dangerous potential.  As I wrote in The Economics of Liberal Values - Part Three: Consumption vs Savings:

“Our socialist welfare state has born out the foresight of Otto von Bismarck when he established the world?s first welfare state.? Bismarck declared that he wanted to be able to herd the German people like cattle and that making them dependent upon the Prussian state for their financial security was the most effective way to do it.? Thus today, instead of a nation prepared to fight for personal liberty as the colonists did in 1776, we have a nation largely dependent upon handouts from the Federal government, ready to forego personal independence and personal property rights in exchange for Social Security, Medicare, and the thousands of other Federal benefit programs.?

What remains of liberty is the worship of violence, crude entertainment, sexual promiscuity, drug abuse, and foul language: in short, Hollywood.”

Additional aspects of this problem are covered in Worship the Secular State Whence All Blessings Flow? and Hillary’s Village.