In response to John Norris’ article “In Defense of the Handout” (March 30 Forum), I offer the following reasons why such a strategy is bad:
Above all, it is immoral for government to take money from party A to give to party B. Government has no authority — constitutional, moral or otherwise — to act as a charity. If it’s not voluntary, it’s not charity; it’s theft. That, alone, is all that is required as a response to such a proposal. However, there are also functional reasons why government welfare is a bad thing. Government welfare is anonymous, nonjudgmental and a seemingly endless font of financial resources. It encourages irresponsible behavior. True charity comes from your family, friends, churches and charitable organizations, all of which are better judges of someone’s worthiness as an object of charity than is government. They encourage people to behave responsibly.
Government welfare has created an irresponsible, dependent underclass that doesn’t understand the basic tenets of civilized behavior. This underclass afflicts every city in this country. People with thin skins have moved to the suburbs to escape the cities and their litter, graffiti, crime and anti-social behavior. Our present society carries on like a person with heart disease or cancer. It still functions but is compromised by the disease.
Contrast the United States with Switzerland, which is clean, well-maintained and well-run by well-behaved people. Switzerland’s welfare system has, as its primary goal, to get people off welfare. Our welfare system has, as its primary goal, to keep people on welfare forever, and to increase the number of people on welfare. We are doomed.