The Ideology of Handouts

The Statist premise is that poverty is a purely economic problem: the needy simply lack the material resources to lead productive, happy lives (to be accomplished by taking money from the tax payer and giving it to the tax receiver or so-called needy), and anyone who opposes this redistribution is selfish and insensitive. Supply these resources, the theory runs, and you will have solved the problem of poverty. 

 

This simple economic theory of poverty led to a single underlying principle for welfare programs (redistribution). Since the needy just lacked goods and services to become productive members of the community, it followed that all you had to do was give them these things (redistribute wealth). You didn’t have to see that they stopped engaging in the behavior that plunged them into neediness. You didn’t have to ask them to apply themselves, or to work, or to save, or to stop using drugs, or to stop having babies they couldn’t support, or to make any other kind of effort to improve themselves. In other words, the welfare programs the war-on-poverty activists designed embodied something-for-nothing giving, or what we usually call “handouts.”

I recently asked my friend’s daughter what she wanted to be when she grows up. She said she wanted to be President some day.
 Both of her parents, liberal Democrats (socialists), were standing there, so I asked her, ‘If you were President what would be the first thing you would do?’ She replied, ‘I’d give food and houses to all the homeless people.’ Her parents beamed with approval.
 
“Wow…what a worthy goal,” I told her. “But you don’t have to wait until you’re President to do that. You can come over to my house and mow the lawn, pull weeds, and sweep my yard, and I’ll pay you $50. Then I’ll take you over to the grocery store where the homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the $50 to use toward food and a new house.” 
 
She thought that over for a few seconds, then she looked me straight in the eye and asked, “Why doesn’t the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50?” “Welcome to the Tea Party.”
While the state of neediness we call poverty does involve a lack of material resources, it also involves a mass of psychological and moral problems, including weak motivation, lack of trust in others, ignorance, irresponsibility, self-destructiveness, short-sightedness, alcoholism, drug addiction, promiscuity, violence, and most important of all risk factors-intelligence (or the lack thereof). To say that all these behavioral and psychological problems can be “abolished” is a denial of the common-sense facts.

“It is easier to believe a lie that one has heard a thousand times than to believe a fact that no one has heard before” – (Unknown, but brilliant).

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