The long way to do things is to wait for someone else to do it. If you’re lucky someone else might. If not then you’ll be stumped. Most people tend to veer on the side of “wait” and see. I do. But sometimes you have to go figure it out or do it for yourself. Does the Welfare State promote the wait and let somebody else look after you syndrome? Or does it help you get a foothold when you slip?
I believe it does both. Ideally it is a “net” that stops you from starving, being homeless or unable to survive if ill. Conversely it allows a sense of “whatever” to creep in. A case of “I’ll do this or that if I am made to”. Many say the cure for this is no welfare. Or rather no State funded – by taxes – welfare. These adherents of no State welfare point to beyond the Poor Laws as the ideal. I have yet to see their evidence based on materials drawn up from those times and a look at the sheer inhuman and impoverished states folks were forced to accept within the Poor Law regulations. Some of course look longingly with gushing nostalgia – normally slightly rose-tinted academic related rather than life experience related – based bias at charity, voluntary and mutual societies. All working so well that they have no idea why the government of the day stepped in to provide social based services.
The adherents of total Welfare State see the poor as being helpless and the homeless and sick as being desperate. Indeed they are if there is no access for care or homes or jobs. That was why many charities [normally fronted by the Christian churches], voluntary and mutual societies sprang up. There was a demand for their services, their help. The fact of the matter is they could not supply universal help only local, and ad hoc at that, help.
Can we have both? Or can we say that a universal payment can go into one’s chosen fund to be used in times of need? A kind of ObmaCare differently? Should we be “made” to accommodate for a “rainy day”? Should we be left to get by on the resources we have through the choices we make? In an ideal world the latter would be good. But we all know that corruption and exploitation lurks in every corner where money and power, however small or minor, can be seen. Backhanders and under the table theft is quite a common practice despite the pretend aghast blushes of the elite that it is not. And that has been a truism since employment and markets began. We all know that “free riders” abound in every walk of life. Do we “punish” all because of the few?
Personally I think a Welfare State universally paid for and provided is an excellent idea. What is missing is the correct management team mentality – if you have BSD holders without analytical and negotiating and people skills running things you are going to have problems. Big Problems. Look at the USA Heritage Trust for instance. Business school boys playing at grown ups. It is not just who but how it is run that really matters.