Ethics of Welfare and Government Assistance

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Patrick Cassidy
PHL 215
Ethics of Welfare and Government Assistance
When the topic of welfare is brought into an ethical discussion most individuals would surely see it as an ethical act that genuinely helps those in need. This is true to an extent, but is it possible that welfare does more harm than good? Most would argue that the hand out of money to those less fortunate is being socially responsible. The question that drives this ethical issue is where does social responsibility end and personal responsibility pick up? This question is difficult to answer because every family in need is in a different situation. Government benefits are supposed to be used as a crutch for families to get back on their feet, but about twenty percent of all families receiving welfare stay on the program for more than five years. {text:bibliography-mark} This is the base of ethical issues surrounding government assistance and social responsibility for the needy. Many individuals believe that receiving a government hand-out allows people to become satisfied with being on welfare. If programs like food stamps and welfare aren’t effective, they are essentially a black hole for the tax dollars of working Americans. There is no denying the fact that there are needy families out there who are so impoverished that they need aid, but it is nearly impossible to separate the abusers from the desperate. It is for this reason many arguments can be made for both sides of government assistance. The most common question is, how far should a government’s social responsibility stretch? The issuing of government benefits derived from tax dollars is a strong ethical dilemma that has both social and economical repercussions. {text:bibliography-mark} The first way to look at this problem from an ethical and moral point of view would be from the psychological egoist perspective. An egoist is a person who believes all that matters in moral issues are the elements that deal with...
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