Comments on: More charity, less bureaucracy Wed, 07 Oct 2015 17:23:32 +0000 hourly 1 By: RachelErinS Mon, 09 Jul 2012 13:14:26 +0000 While the last response comment offers interesting and thought pondering arguments,
it should be pointed out that the responder does not ever mention or refer to the personal responsibility and accountability emphasis that was discussed in the original article.

Other sources and studies show a very direct correlation with government involvement and government financial health. In a utopian world, socialism and communism may actually work to the benefit of all. However, we can all clearly agree that our culture, society, and world is not anything close to a utopia or an ideal world. A government should not exist to provide welfare for not contributing myers of society. Yes, there are many US citizens that are validly in need of assistance. However, there are also many US citizens that abuse the welfare system by taking and not “putting in” to the bucket. Where are the studies and research to show how many welfare recipients are actually capable of working and contributing to society? Are there any reports or audits that give a clear picture of who is trying to work, care and provide for themselves, and ween off welfare? It seems to have become a cultural acceptance that one on welfare stays there indefinitely because of their misfortune. And the system seems to provide no true checks and balances agenda to encourage personal growth and responsiblity.

So, in response to the article and it’s comments following,
I would like to say I agree, I would much rather share my hard earned money with charities of ky choice. Personally, I would choose charities that encourage accountability. I find it illogical to consider giving endlessly to those who refuse to help themselves or a system that supports that type of mentality. I have found that most that are supportive of huge government control, meddling, and free enterprise limitations are one of two types:
1. Those who receive more from the welfare system than they pay in taxes
2. Those who have been given financial comfort and security by family or friends and Dodd not actually contribute long work days, times of limited funded available, and

Sadly, I have little faith in the efficiency of our government. I know not once person that enjoys going to the DMV, county clerk, social security office, or any other government run establishment.
I usually experience long lines, inefficient policies, grouchy mployees that receive wage increases based on pure existence rather than performance.

In short, I don’t trust the American government to redistribute my “charitable giving” in an effecient and effective way. What a wonderful idea- to give the hard working givers a choice on to whom they want to share their hard earned dollars.

By: jtfane Sun, 25 Mar 2012 16:42:45 +0000 This is easily one of the most misleading and factually deficient articles I have ever seen.

It starts in the first paragraph with the assertion that “The welfare state that he helped create has decimated private charities for the poor.” On what data is this assertion, stated as though it were fact, based? Even if you were to present data that demonstrated a negative correlation between government welfare spending and voluntary charitable donations wouldn’t a more rational explanation be that less charity is actually necessary in those states whose governments provide for the needs of their people? Another, perhaps more accurate way of stating this would be: Increased government support for the poor has reduced the need for private charities.

You state that “the share of GDP taken by federal and state welfare programmes, as measured by the OECD, is 10 times higher.” In 2006 (according to your OECD reference) public spending on social services in the US represented just under 16% of GDP and, according to Philanthropy UK, charitable giving in the US was 2.2% of GDP that year. By what math is 16% 10 times 2.2%? According to my calculations 16% is much closer to 7 times 2.2% than 10 times. Is this how you manage all of your data? This statement also includes what is probably the most misleading of your claims, what you refer to as
“federal and state welfare programmes” as measured by the OECD includes items such as public pensions, veterans benefits, medicare, unemployment insurance and social security. These items actually constitute the vast majority of those expenditures and none of them would be considered welfare by any reasonable person. Do you consider a veteran collecting their pension to be on welfare? I surely don’t, I think they earned every penny of it.

I imagine that you realize that comparing these things you term “the charitable (voluntary) sector” and “federal and state welfare programmes” is entirely meaningless. I do not say this lightly because it deems you dishonest rather than merely incompetent, a far greater insult, but I see no other option. When you make an attempt to compare money the government spends primarily on pensions and health insurance to charitable donations that go primarily to churches and education (a combined 49% of charitable giving in 2010) you really do leave yourself open to the criticism. Just how much of the money donated to churches and educational institutions goes to support people below the poverty line is anyone’s guess. Maybe this is how you prefer your charitable donations to be spent? Just 25% of charitable giving in the US goes to human services, health and public society benefit according to the Foundation Center and Giving USA. How much of that 25% is spent in the US is also anyone’s guess. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which accounts for a significant portion of the $23B given to health causes in 2010, likely spent most of it’s money outside the US. Essentially all government social spending is spent within the US. These two items just really have nothing to do with each other and I think you realize that. But it obviously suits your ideological purpose to compare them.

You claim that “But while the decline of proletariat and peasantry has reduced the proportion of the population of rich countries who live in that culture of poverty, the welfare state has tended to increase both the marginality and the dependency of those who do.” Clever wordsmithing to avoid saying anything meaningful or measurable, but what does real data show? If you look at the 33 countries monitored by the OECD and perform correlations for a variety of measures of equality and well being with government social spending you’ll see quite a different picture than the one you paint. Here are some examples:

Government Social Spending to CIA Gini: -0.5
Nations who spend more on social programs have lower inequality.

Government Social Spending to Poverty: -0.6
Nations who spend more on social programs have a lower poverty rate.

Government Social Spending to Crime: -0.5
Nations who spend more on social programs have lower crime rates.

Government Social Spending to Old Age Poverty: -0.5
Nations who spend more on social programs have lower old age poverty rates.

These are actual correlations based on data from 33 nations, and while correlation does not imply causation, in light of this data it is absolutely absurd to suggest that decreasing government social spending will somehow improve any of these measures. When the correlations are in such significant, direct opposition to your hypothesis it’s time to rethink your position. As with most ideologists though, I’m sure you’ll be more comfortable developing strained, contorted rationalizations to explain them away.

In addition, if one looks at social spending and poverty in the US over the past 50 years (the period over which poverty data is readily available) one finds the same relationship. The correlation between social spending (minus veterans benefits, medicare and social security, which are not welfare at all) and poverty rates is -0.6 which indicates a rather significant correlation between higher social spending and lower poverty rates. I have a bit of trouble accepting that this correlation has any dependence on “the decline of proletariat and peasantry” in the US over the last 50 years. The data in this case is certainly not on your side.

Ridiculous anecdotal statements like “I have heard the children in a welfare-dependent family talk about “getting paid”, as if their mother’s indolence were a sort of job.” are the bread and butter of ideology snake oil salesmen like yourself. Surely you can do better than this. I’ve heard children talk about the wondrous things Santa Claus brought them for Christmas. Should we suppose that these poor things will grow up to be dependent on a fictional fat old man in a red suit driving a sleigh? They’re children. Rather, your language provides a clue to your assumption that all those who receive government assistance are simply habitually lazy and that their individual situation need not be considered. This from someone who at least appears to claim to be concerned about the poor.

Did you ever stop to think for a moment (I know I’m going out on a limb here) that just perhaps the main reason why “Too many children of welfare families end up as welfare-dependent adults, or in prison.” is much more simply that they were underpriveleged? Perhaps, just perhaps growing up in an urban ghetto with significantly higher rates of crime and drug and alchohol addiction, dismal public schools, few opportunities for meaningful employment, and a single parent who probably doesn’t have a high school education might contribute a bit more to why “children of welfare families end up as welfare-dependent adults, or in prison” than the fact that their mother bought her groceries with a government issued debit card? Your suggestion that these children would grow up to be more productive members of society if their mothers had to wait in line at the local church or food pantry for their groceries is absurd.

Your assertion that “The rise of such single-parent families cannot be attributed entirely to the availability of welfare, but such payments make antisocial behaviour that much easier.” would appear, without the doublespeak, to be translated as welfare is nearly entirely responsible for the rise of single parent families 😉 ;). Once again though, this assertion fails even the most rudimentary factual analysis. There is essentially no correlation between government social spending and single parent families across countries measured by the OECD. What little correlation there is though is negative (-0.2) meaning that, if anything, countires that have higher social spending actually have fewer single parent families, not more as you slyly insinuate.

Besides, one of the primary contributors to single parent families, divorce, is certainly not limited to the poor. One significant difference between the poor and wealthy newly single mothers though is that it is much easier for the wealthy ones to find new husbands (if my neighborhood is any example, much younger, fitter ones with a great deal more hair than their predecessors) when they were left with a $2 million home, the Range Rover and one of the Porsches.

You claim that “What is required is a slow and carefully planned privatisation of anti-poverty programmes.” when, by any reasonable prediction what this would create would be the equivalent of the US health care system, the most privatized and also the most inefficient, expensive system of any developed nation on the planet. That experiment has failed and now you want to subject the poor, who are already suffering as a result, to even more of your ideological “solutions”.

Lastly, your final paragraph is one of the most presumptuous piles of tripe I’ve read in quite some time. I can’t begin to imagine why Reuters publishes this baseless rubbish.

By: DrAda Sun, 25 Mar 2012 02:21:59 +0000 Edward Hadas is onto something. I’ve referred to this as “the Christmas ethic” – its more blessed to give than to receive. It takes some “spiritual intelligence” to be captured by such an appreciation for doing into others…. The governments efforts to help might also be viewed as symptomatic of our collective lack of a more elevated spiritual intelligence. Let’s mature and give of our labor and abundance to the less fortunate among us, as an act of karmic compassion and wisdom.

By: zotdoc Thu, 22 Mar 2012 21:32:01 +0000 Mr. Hadas, your points are well taken. The current system of government “charities” is a repressive enterprise encouraging people to make extremely poor choices (single motherhood etc). The government traps these people in a subsistence living, depending on a government subsistence check, barely adequate for those who are truly not capable of gainful work. The large percentage of people dependent on government checks who are capable of gainful employ are discouraged by the loss of benefits that would occur should they actually get a job, and so are limited to black market employ such as drug running and prostitution, and thus they get caught in a life they can’t get out of, and are easily manipulated by our politicians to vote in a block for any increase in the benefits they recieve

By: urownexperience Thu, 22 Mar 2012 15:07:10 +0000 Wonderful! When I grow up, I want to be a Republican so I can get rich and spit on poor people.

By: NorthernLight Thu, 22 Mar 2012 12:02:27 +0000 Nossnevs, I believe Edward is saying it should be your choice if you don’t want to give money to charities. It’s nice that you have the choice, and you that you choose to give the money directly to the poor. With the government hands in it, there is no choice.

By: chyron Thu, 22 Mar 2012 09:24:21 +0000 IMO charity is no busyness of State (but only above most basic things, incidentally basic healthcare is one of these). But at same time arrogancy of ultra-rich is offputting.

Problem is that after several decades of relative prosperity world do once again slide to previous state of inequality. And you can see in numerous articles and interviews that number of modern “aristocracy” simply despise people not of their status. At same time capability to produce new small busynesses and moderate-salary jobs is eroded due to states bowing to these “aristocracy”‘s “efficiency”. So there’s two ways (inside paradigm of capitalism of course) – first is “level the field” for busynesses once again, which is definitely not the way goverments act (“too big to fail” anyone?) or tax the rich to support “unnecessary” people.
And, on gripping hand, there’s one (English? Double translated) proverb – “You’ve bankrupt? Time to lead a charity”

By: Caardvaark Thu, 22 Mar 2012 03:47:18 +0000 I personally know quite a few people that could work but don’t want to jeopardize their Social Security disability payments. You can only earn so much before you lose the check so they work under the table or quit before they hit the annual maximum allowed. I think SSDI is the biggest scam opportunity out there. All you have to do is get a doctor to say you can’t work. This is really easy to do, then you also get free medicines (drugs) that you can sell for extra income. The array of illnesses that qualify you for SSDI includes mental health – easily faked. One lady I know gets $1800 per month because she used to have a good job. She got convicted of stalking a co-worker, claimed mental illness, went into a mental hospital, and now gets paid by the government to stay home. She is now addicted to Klonapene (?) that she gets from the doctor that diagnosed her. He also has a profit motive.

By: nossnevs Wed, 21 Mar 2012 22:56:18 +0000 As if private charity has no bureaucracy. To the contrary, their bureaucrats pay themselves much better than the state employed ones. Lots of charities spend most of their money on themselves. I give money to beggars, homeless, etc, on the street. Never to charities!

By: GrahamLovell Wed, 21 Mar 2012 22:49:13 +0000 Surely, if a rich man wants to help the poor, his first course should pay his taxes gladly.

As Edward Hadas correctly points out, the most effective help for the poor is to try to ensure that there are jobs for everyone.

On the other hand, it is accepted that some aspects of the welfare state are not helpful in the long term, and that is why Work for the Dole was introduced by the Howard government in Australia.