Stossel: Better Than Charity

Government tried to “help the poor” by spending $27 Trillion on a “war on poverty”. Shortly after its “war” began, the poverty rate STOPPED falling. Why? Government handouts teach dependence. Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute explains: “The government creates dependence by the very fact that it sends you a check, a welfare check or food stamps… and when you get a job, you lose that status. So your checks gets smaller and smaller.” That changes behavior. One woman noted, “As soon as you start doing good, they take everything [government assistance] away from you.” Many charities are better. Groups like “WorkFaith” and the “DOE Fund” help ex-convicts get back on their feet through work. “Every time I get my paycheck, I know that I earned that. And for the first time in my life I can say that,” said one man helped by WorkFaith. The DOE Fund helped John Buster, who pointed out: “They don’t allow you to get food stamps … They want you to be independent.” I donate to DOE. It changes lives. But there’s an even better way to help the world. “250 years ago, almost all of us … were earning what the UN today defines as extreme poverty,” Yaron Brook points out. “Today only about 8%… are that poor… Why? Not because of charity, not because of foreign aid.” Millions lifted themselves out of poverty thanks to private-sector, often “greedy”, innovators. Because of entrepreneurial capitalism, we now take running water, medicines, cars, telecommunication, and longer lives for granted. Those innovators are the real heroes of the modern era. Their work is more helpful to the world than charity.

Chris Spangle is the publisher and editor of We Are Libertarians, a news site and podcast that covers national and Indiana politics from the libertarian perspective. Spangle previously worked in marketing for the Englehart Group on behalf of the Advocates for Self-Government. He also served as the Executive Director of the Libertarian Party of Indiana and producer of the Abdul in the Morning Show. He now works as the web director of a nationally syndicated morning show.

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