Tuesday, November 22, 2016

on trying to help the poor (especially when the government causes so much trouble in this realm)

A post on the occasion of a new IFWE booklet by Kathryn Feliciano on trying to help the poor... (See also: Corbert and Fikkert's already-classic book.)
If you're on the ground, trying to help "the poor", you quickly realize how complicated and challenging it is.

Start with two key government policies: 1.) welfare programs which tax the poor at an average of 80-90% as they earn money, encouraging them to remain on welfare and to embrace trouble with family stability/structure; and 2.) govt's huge monopoly power over the poor in K-12 education, exacerbating the family problems they've helped to create.

Add in a mix of all sorts of personal problems-- from lack of discipline and job experience to addiction and mental illness.

Now, try to help this wide variety of people, especially when there are "compassionate" subsidies beckoning them to remain in the same position.

Olasky notes that the word "compassion" used to derive its contemporary meaning from its Latin roots-- "to suffer with". Now, it merely means sentiment and feeling sorry for someone, often from a distance. But "distance" doesn't work well here. If you want to help-- and especially if the government wants to continue messing with the poor-- you'll have to get your hands (really) dirty.



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