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"Happiness is not an accident. Nor is it something you wish for. Happiness is something you design." ~ Jim Rohn

Make Mine Freedom

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Welfare: It's Proper Place.

Noah Webster defined welfare this way:
WELFARE, n. [well and fare, a good faring; G.]

1. Exemption from misfortune, sickness, calamity or evil; the enjoyment of health and the common blessings of life; prosperity; happiness; applied to persons.
2. Exemption from any unusual evil or calamity; the enjoyment of peace and prosperity, or the ordinary blessings of society and civil government; applied to states. ("Welfare.")

It is apparent from Webster's definition that he and his contemporaries as being a condition of humanity. The first entry defines a condition of life for individuals. The second entry applies welfare to the larger populace: society and government.

Interestingly, at no point does this definition suggest caring for the poor and the needy. Yet, it is reasonable to conclude that "the enjoyment of peace and prosperity...applied to states" would infer caring for the needy. I submit that it is government's responsibility to care for the needy if and only when we as civilized people do not or cannot care for our needy first.

If you, as an individual or business, provide for the needy either directly or through charitable giving, you are tending to the welfare of the needy. This is a good thing and is to be commended.

On the other hand, as I understand it, redistribution of wealth is essentially and ideally government pretending to be Robin Hood --taking from the rich to give to the poor. (The application of redistribution of wealth is a subject for another thread.)

Setting corruption aside, what do government welfare programs do? In the simplest terms, they provide means for less fortunate people to acquire basic needs. (Unfortunately some people buy things they want rather than things they need while some game the system so the never have to work for their needs. That, too, is a subject for another thread.) Consider where government programs acquire the money they need to provide these services: tax dollars allocated in Congress.

Consequently, those who ARE working and paying their taxes are, at length, paying for the needs of those who are less fortunate. And, this is where it stops for most people. On the surface, this seems like a good thing: working people providing help for those who cannot help themselves.

However and the problem is, most people, let alone Liberals and Progressives, don't bother to consider the role-or whether or not there should even be a role-the government plays in the process. As the middleman, the government ostensibly takes from those who earn it and gives to those who do not. The government redistributes the wealth of the working class to the non-working class.

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