Government-Run Welfare

Topics: Welfare, Welfare trap, Conditional Cash Transfer Pages: 5 (1926 words) Published: October 15, 2008
Government-Run welfare

The current use of government-run welfare systems is an ineffective and inefficient way to help solve poverty and unemployment in urban areas. Flawed in almost every way, it requires immediate improvement and attention, and could be improved with privatization of many welfare programs, including prisons, charity and housing. Welfare can be improved in more ways than one, and one of the biggest problems in need of a fix is the government’s attitude toward the programs they run. Welfare may have been created with good intentions, but it has failed to meet its stated goal of reducing poverty. Many critics of the welfare system charge that providing a steady income to the needy encourages idleness, resulting in very little improvement in the employment rate of those receiving benefits from the government. Not only that, but the recipients don’t receive any special attention from the government, or incentives to become employed, resulting in a downward spiral of problems too big for money alone to solve. Private efforts have been much more successful than the federal government's failed attempt at charity. America is the most generous nation on earth. Americans already contribute more than $125 billion annually to charity. Private charities have been more successful than government welfare for several reasons. First, private charities are able to individualize their approach to the circumstances of poor people in ways that governments can never do. Government regulations must be designed to treat all similarly situated recipients alike. Glenn C. Loury of Boston University explains the difference between welfare and private charities on that point. "Because citizens have due process rights which cannot be fully abrogated . . . public judgments must be made in a manner that can be defended after the fact, sometimes even in court." The result is that most government programs rely on the simple provision of cash or other goods and services without any attempt to differentiate between the needs of recipients. For example, if you needed something very important for a job interview, a government welfare program can only tell you to wait for your next welfare check, which will probably arrive long after the interview is over. However, a private charity can look into its own funds and get you what you need on the same day. The sheer size of government programs works against individualization. For example, in the book, There Are No Children Here, LaJoe, the mother of the children in the story always applied to the government for a better place to live. However, with so many cases that the government welfare workers have to go through, it becomes hard to remember that each case belongs to another human being. Some workers even admitted the recipients were only a “number” that either did or did not qualify for benefits. In her another book, Tyranny of Kindness, by Theresa Funiciello, who was a former welfare mother, Theresa described the dehumanizing world of the government welfare system- a system in which regulations and bureaucracy rule all else. It is a system in which illiterate homeless people with mental illnesses are handed 17-page forms to fill out, women nine months pregnant are told to verify their pregnancies, a woman who was raped is told she is ineligible for benefits because she can't list the baby's father on the required form. It is a world where the government is totally not communicating nor helping those in poverty, while just making things worse and more complicated. Private charities are not bound by such bureaucratic restrictions. In addition to being better able to target individual needs, private charities are much better able to target assistance to those who really need help. Because eligibility requirements for government welfare programs are arbitrary and cannot be changed to fit individual circumstances, many people in genuine need do not receive assistance, while benefits often go...
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