Welfare Hurts the Poor and Gives More Power to the Government

As Dr Thomas Sowell of the Hoover Institution said the problem with the welfare state is that ‘You’re paying people to fail’, and this is the primary danger of what Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman described as the ‘Social Security Empire’, which has vast control over the citizenry.

As common sense would have it, if you’re on welfare, and if the state is subsiding your expectations, naturally your expectations will be higher. Higher expectations breed higher costs, and more services. With the more services produced by the welfare state comes more regulations, rules and control. Control over the recipients, your work, health care, and how you spend your money are all controlled by the government.

This control belittles the recipient of welfare, and gives the administrator of the welfare a God like status of self importance, it creates a permanent ruling class, and a permanent class of those who are ruled. What are the real intentions of the ‘champions of the poor’? Is it ‘compassion’ or ‘understanding’ or is it, power, control and votes?

Moreover, one of the major dangers of welfare is that it assumes a predestined amount of failure, it assumes their will be a certain level of teen pregnancy, it assumes that their will be a certain amount of divorce and it assumes that there will be a certain amount of the unemployed. The assumption of predestined failure ultimately becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. With the welfare state the idea of ‘build it and they will come’ comes into fruition.

Let’s take the example of divorce, since the implementation of welfare, the rate of homes in the US (according to Thomas Sowell) with a divorced family has increased from 12% in 1980, to over 40% today. Welfare, is encouraging women to divorce their husbands, and or leave their partners and marry the state, because the glossy promises of a debt ridden state are more appealing then a hard working husband helping to provide for the family.

As Milton Friedman said, the children of welfare are likely to end up on welfare themselves, this is true! So, sad! It is so sad because it has created a permanent under class of people. It creates a class of people who are subject to the dictates and whims of Centrelink, it causes adults to be treated like children. It means people have to be completely obedient to the state.

Welfare not only increases state control and strips individual liberty, but it makes people fearful of taking a risk on getting a job, because if they don’t do well on their new job they could be without entitlements for several months, which could make it very hard for them financially in the long run.

Welfare provides a level of comfort, that encourages mundane lower paid jobs be completed by migrants, for instance we see many Indians driving cabs now instead of Aussies, why? Because it is more convenient for an Aussie to be on the dole rather than take on a job whilst studying, or caring for their families.

But the question remains, what do we do about this problem? The answer is simple,  to cut welfare to those capable of work overnight, and force them into the workforce.

Doing this will see a sharp drop in unemployment levels, and it will see less of a dependence foreign workers to be doing the jobs that Aussies could quite easily be doing.  At some wage, at some level of pay, there will always be a job they can get.

Private charity, and Mutual aid will fill the gap, of the welfare state. The Mutual aid collective-self-help organisations provided working people with the security of mutual insurance alongside opportunities for regular, ritual-based solidarity. They constituted the largest set of voluntary associations in Britain, reaching about six million members – equivalent to one half of all adult males in the early 20th century.

Sometimes understanding the past is key to unlocking a future of prosperity for us all, a life after the welfare state. The key to unraveling the control, and dominance of the welfare state is to foster a culture of collective-self-help organisations and to give to private charities freely. This will not only reduce poverty and employment, but most importantly lower your taxes and increase the individual liberty of all.

Jacob Watts

' Jacob Watts is The Unshackled Editor-at-Large and host of The Conservative File podcast. He is based in Geelong, Victoria where he conducts interviews and field reports.'