(RightWing.org) – America is a generous country and helping those less fortunate is a staple of the American experience. In 2018, Americans gave $427.1 million to charitable causes. The poor and lower-middle class, directly and indirectly, benefit from the generosity. Despite all this generosity, the government spends enormous amounts of money helping the poor, and the consequences of those programs may go against their intentions.
Now, President Joe Biden wants to create the second-largest expansion of welfare in US history and spend even more money. Will it solve the problem of poverty, or will more Americans get trapped in a permanent state of hopelessness?
Helping Americans Is Moral and Just
Over the last 50 years, America spent untold trillions of dollars on the war against poverty. The needle hasn’t moved. Progressive policies succeeded in making poverty slightly less painful, though they failed to make it less permanent.
Americans want to help people and believe it’s the moral thing to do. Compassion and fairness are right and responsible. The truth is economic issues are moral issues, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when 40% of jobs under $40,000 vanished due to government-induced shutdowns in 2020. The question is, how should the government help those in need?
Biden’s Solution Is to Expand the Welfare State
If you’re Joe Biden, the solution to poverty is to give people more money. Here’s the president’s initial starting point:
- Increase the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 per qualifying child dependent to $3,600 for kids under 6 and $3,000 for dependents 6 to 17 years of age
- Increase the Earned Income Tax Credit from $500 to $1,500 for childless workers and increase the income threshold from $16,000 to $21,000
This could put thousands of dollars into the hands of millions of people who could use the money. However, the problem with these ideas is it creates a permanent welfare state of dependency on the federal government and taxpayers. There is a psychological concern that holds people back from pursuing opportunities out of fear they will lose the government benefits they need to survive when the opportunity is often better than the benefits themselves.
What Is a Conservative Solution?
It’s reasonable to help people. However, it’s also reasonable to question the notion of trapping the poor into a cycle of dependency. Poverty and opportunity are the issues that need addressing.
The poor are an untapped source of opportunity and strength. Charity is important, but the poor need “investment.” Investment is found in education and work.
If America is going to provide for people’s needs, it should be through incentives that utilize the free market to empower choices for people. Investing in those who want to work in the trades, healthcare, or wherever they like, is the key to building America’s economy for the long haul and giving people a sense of accomplishment that they are part of the bigger picture.
Will people need help along the way?
Absolutely. However, expanding the permanent welfare state isn’t helping people. It’s trapping them. It prevents them from using their God-given talents and tapping into their hopes and dreams.
Vibrant economies solve poverty. For economies to grow, the opportunity needs to flourish. The government can’t make the economy grow, but it sure can inhibit it. What the government and society can do is start seeing people as assets, not liabilities. They can incentivize work as a blessing, not a punishment. Help is important, but hope is essential.
Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst
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