There is a fundamental problem with the discussion today about social welfare. The welfare state is growing we are already to the point where less than half of the average American’s income comes from wages earned. Any effort by the right to cut spending is met with issues of a government safety net to help the less fortunate. Every discussion I see on social welfare issues comes back to this same issue. And this is an issue that needs to be addressed because there is nobody talking about the alternative to a government safety net: we need to look after one another.
If I pay taxes and some people at the IRS receive the payment, a number of pairs of hands later a portion of these taxes go to pay social welfare programs. It is the multiple people who are involved in this process as my tax dollars are allocated to government program and the inherent bureaucracy of government programs that leads to inefficiencies.
So the question I pose is this: if you were not taxed for every dollar you spent and every gallon of gas, would you spend some of the money you earned to donate to local charity organizations? If you could work less because you’re not being taxed for every hour worked, would you donate some of your time and skills to help the less fortunate?
Are we incapable of taking care of each other without the safety net of government? Are we advancing as a society or are we regressing? Isn’t the desire we see in this country of people wanting the government to solve our problems making us a more impersonal society? Instead of us willingly helping each other, divisive politics just bicker about who is going to pay for the ever bigger government.
There is no better example than Hurricane Katrina in my mind: this is an example where government forces kept people who were trying to help out of the area while our government forces proved how their inefficiency causes inept responses. Thousands of rescuers both public and private were turned away as Americans drowned. What have we become?
We look to the government for help instead of to each other. That is not to say that the government has no role is social welfare, it just suggests that our attitudes towards government has changed. If we want the government to solve all of our problems, then we have abandoned the principals of liberty which brought us such prosperity and we are doomed to a big government, forever in debt, which is good at nothing but wasting our money.