A Self-Defeating System; the Problem with Welfare

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), December 9, 2003 | Go to article overview

A Self-Defeating System; the Problem with Welfare


Byline: William H. Peterson, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

"Politics ruins character," said German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the father of the contagious Welfare State, in 1881. The Welfare State infected Britain in 1911 and the United States in 1935, bloating here in 1965 via Medicare and Medicaid. Today it politicizes all the West and Japan.

Michael Tanner, director of health and welfare studies at the Cato Institute and a man of wit and grit, fathoms the welfare state's catching if self-defeating core, evinces its unconstitutionality and shows how instead of helping 293 million Americans with Social Security and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), it ends up harming them and, per Bismarck, tends to ruin their character.

On welfare's unconstitutionality, Mr. Tanner tells how in 1794, then-Rep. James Madison, a Founding Father and the architect of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, told the House as it debated a proposed welfare bill: "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Federal Constitution [granting such] a right to Congress."

President Franklin Pierce vetoed a bill to give states land for insane asylums, saying: "I cannot find any authority in the Constitution for making the federal government the great almoner of public charity throughout the United States."

Calling for welfare privatization, Mr. Tanner credits Alexis de Tocqueville for noting in "Democracy in America" (1835-40) how local and state welfare was aided and generally topped by private giving. The author also credits Marvin Olasky and his 1992 book "The Tragedy of American Compassion" for seeing in the first half of U.S. history private charity's vast variety and reach.

Protestant, Catholic and Jewish charities led and almost all tried to cull the "deserving" from "undeserving" poor. Explains Mr. Tanner: "The deserving poor included those who, although normally self-sufficient, found themselves suddenly in need of help because of sickness, accident, loss of employment during a recession, or similar misfortune.

"The deserving poor also included the elderly, orphans and others for whom circumstances made self-sufficiency impossible. The undeserving poor were those who could be self-sufficient but were not because of personal or 'moral' failings; that group included drunkards, layabouts and profligates. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Self-Defeating System; the Problem with Welfare
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.