Welfare: How Government Never Creates Problems, but Can Always Solve Them

Governments are notorious for creating problems and blaming them on the free market. The Great Depression is perhaps the most successful of such scams in the history of the United States, only exceeded on a worldwide scale by the machinations of people like Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, and Adolf Hitler. Caused by government, the Great Depression not only gave the federal government cover for the “benevolent” accumulation of power, but also has successfully (but wrongly) convinced the predominance of Americans that government bureaucrats can take care of our neighbor from afar better than we can from across the street.

A greater crock has not been perpetuated on freedom-loving people since Lucifer enticed a third part of the hosts of heaven to rebel against our Heavenly Father’s plan in our pre-mortal existence.

The Constitution of the United States instructs that one of the purposes of the federal government is to promote (or provide) for the General Welfare. However, almost every case of welfare promoted or provided by the federal government today does not fit this category, because most federal government welfare is targeted to specific individuals or groups of people. Sadly, it seems, most people don’t care when the federal government oversteps its constitutional bounds, as long as it puts bread on their table and allows inane programs on their television sets. The Great Depression, followed by Franklin D. Roosevelt as America's supposed savior, have conditioned most Americans to think this way.

When it comes to welfare, humans are generally much more comfortable with the big, easy-to-see solution that government can perform. What is harder to see is how the money extorted from the citizens in the first place could have been used for the same specific welfare that government used it for, but that privately it could have been used a lot more efficiently, a lot more legally (Constitutionally), and much more cheaply--in most cases, for free.

The people who make up government are just people. A government official person is no more capable of noticing hardship as he or she is when he or she is simply a neighbor person, a family member person, or a friend person. In fact, the government official person is less likely to see hardship, because there are far fewer bureaucrat persons than there are neighbor persons, family member persons, and friend persons. Government is far more successful in providing welfare when it uses its bully pulpit to promote it—by stirring private individuals up in remembrance of their moral duty to their fellow man.

When government becomes the provider of first resort for our economic welfare, private individuals become conditioned to be less charitable. Government usurpation of the responsibility to provide welfare has the same effect as the parent who continually takes out the trash for the child rather than reminding the child that taking out the garbage is their duty.

The best question to ask of The New Deal and The Great Society is not whether they worked but, how much better or worse off we would have been had they never been tried. I think the answer to both questions is obvious enough.

Families have been destroyed by the irresponsibility of government welfare programs. Ingenuity has been decimated by the “benevolence” of government.  I think it not coincidental that these failures have actually contributed to the "success" of government goals in the areas of population and climate control.

Americans today are much like those who suffered under decades of Soviet Communism; in our case, no one is alive who can remember that people actually did a very good job of taking care of each other before government came along and—erroneously—thought it could do it better. Like Russian history, however, conventional American history has been rewritten by the socialist victors. This faux history has trained us to believe that (a) government never creates problems, and (b) government can always solve the problems that everyone else creates.

The most notorious example of such revisionist history is the wild supposition that Franklin D. Roosevelt solved the Great Depression, which was supposedly caused by greedy bankers and investors. This is a lie in several ways. First, the problem that FDR claimed to have solved was created by government mismanagement, including criminal mismanagement of the economy by the Federal Reserve. Second, prior to the Great Depression, contrary to current popular belief, private individuals and entities were mostly doing a great job of providing for the welfare of their neighbors (it was government’s fault for failing to punish the exceptions, and it still fails in this responsibility today)—the one big difference being that if someone was an able-bodied welfare thief, private entities didn’t provide for them. Third, although masked by the employment afforded by our entry into World War II, the Great Depression did not really come to an end until after FDR’s death and the death of his anti-business policies.


  1. I think what makes this argument read as tired and dead to me is two-fold:

    One, the argument always starts as yours does here. First line is a sweeping, unjustified personal opinion expressed as a confirmed and provable empirical fact. The following points may have merit, but I refuse to lend them any when they begin with such a foundation of hyperbole.

    Second, those making this argument never aknowledge the simbiotic relationship between the government and the free market. Nor do they recognize the lack of purity and rainbows in the free market. Instead -- happy to just irrationally assert that government creates problems always and the free market does never -- proponents of this ideological bent rely entirely on almost a faith like leap of logic, sans willing suspension of disbelief in even the tiniest of ways as a means to recognizing the merit of those who may see things otherwise.

    In the end, the free market, unfettered, is a fools game. And regulation without the driving forces of a competitive market are circularly damaging. Both are required for a healthy economy, and despite a few bumps, ours is healthy in comparison to many other systems because of the interaction between free markets and government intervention (and often propping up of) those markets.

    Anytime someone tries to assert that one without the other is the goal we should be striving for, it tells us more about their willingness to cherry pick an understanding of economic realitites than it does their ability to offer a true picture of our economic system and the possibilities it provides.

  2. Jason: I actually DID acknowledge the PROPER symbiotic relationship that the government has with the free market, to point out that instead of adequately punishing theft and fraud, they ignore it so that they can ride in like a knight on a white horse to save the day.

    What makes it worse is that they then PARTICIPATE in it by stealing from the worker the bread he has earned and give it to those who could earn it if they tried.

    Let me ask you this. Do you really think the Great Society and the New Deal were successes?

  3. Here are some ways that federal dollars are helping your Utah neighbors across the street and elsewhere:

    Utah CHIP Program
    Utah Family Employment Program
    Utah Food Stamp Program
    Utah Head Start
    Utah Home Energy Assistance Training Program
    Utah Medicaid
    Utah School Breakfast and Lunch Program
    Utah Special Milk Program
    Utah Special Supplimental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children
    Utah Summer Food Service
    Utah Unemployment Insurance
    Utah Weatherization Assistance Program

    These are social services that the state would not be able to provide without the support of Federal funding.

    These are just the state programs that help real people in need. Realistically, how many of these programs if withdrawn would have individuals step up and meet the needs of any, let alone all of the current recipients?

    In addition there are currently 415 Federal Benefit programs available to those who meet the eligibility requirements. To see a list go to this link: http://www.govbenefits.gov

    The days of helping your neighbor rebuild their barn that burned down, and giving them food because their crop failed are long gone. Just because in an upperclass LDS neighborhood like yours that people take casseroles to one another in times of trouble does not mean that there are neighbors with resources enough to help others let alone themselves in some of our blighted inner city neighborhoods. Beyond the blinders of a comfortable sheltered life in an upperclass LDS neighborhood where oversimplified idological answers can solve all of America's problems, there is a real world out there with real people who are hungry, sick, and unable to care for themselves living in areas where neighbors, cities, and even states do not have the resources to meet their needs. This is where the Federal Goverment provides the much needed safety net. There are even those of us who do not begrudge our tax dollars going to these causes. It is better than building million dollar "smart bombs" to blow up tents in the desert. Providing for the common good of a nation is an essential role of a government in a Democracy in my view. Do the words "of the people, by the people, and FOR THE PEOPLE" have any meaning to you Frank?

  4. JBT: You make some good points. All of the programs you list are very likely of great benefit to those who use their services.

    Imagine, however, if Utah didn't have to send the money to the federal government, but could keep it inside the state to perform the same welfare functions. This, in my opinion, would be much more cost-effective as well as Constitutional.

    Part of the reason for my article is that prior to the stock market crash, the Great Depression, and the advent of FDR, many private entities provided the same kinds of welfare that FDR's federal government took over.

    I'm not sure that these entities would be capable of covering all of the bases as far as welfare need is concerned, but I am of the opinion that the States can provide welfare much more efficiently than the national government can.

  5. Your proposition sounds like having the Federal taxes paid by Utah citizens go to the state government instead along with their state taxes. Given the history of our Republican dominated legislature it is evident that money would not go to the social services currently provided by the Federal government. We both know that when there is what they consider to be a surplus, they give the money back to the taxpayers in spite of having the lowest funded schools in the nation. Efficiency wouldn't even be an issue because there would be no programs to speak of.

    Richard Davis addresses this topic much more eloquently than I can.


  6. JBT: You make another good point. In today's political environment I fear that you would be correct. But it is not a healthy political environment. I'm not sure if you know Emily Bingham Hollingshead, but she and I had a great discussion on facebook a month or two back about how important it would be for Republicans, if they were ever to get the federal government to step back from overstepping its Constitutional duties, to immediately take on the responsibility that would still be there to provide for the indigent. If that could happen, I think we could eventually get back to a society where people are more loving and concerned for one another, and where government doesn't have the need to provide welfare, because private individuals are doing it.

    Emily hadn't ever thought about it quite that way, but she was impressed by the thought. My main point in sharing this anecdote, though, is that Republicans do about as terrible a job of pointing out that there is a role for (state and local) government in welfare as anti-climate changers do of pointing out the importance of being much better stewards of our environment than we currently are.


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