Helping the Poor
In the 1960's 13% of American families were classified as poor. Since then America has spent nearly six trillion dollars to help the poor. Today 13% of American families are still classified poor. That's right -- no improvement! Government must get out of the way of poor families.
I think that the poor deserve MORE than welfare – they deserve the chance to become wealthy. History proves that only liberty – not government handouts – can give them that chance.
Seventy-five percent of our welfare dollars, enough for each family of four to receive $50,000 annually, go to middle class social workers who administer these programs. In privately administered programs, 75% goes to the needy. Anyone who advocates welfare taxes is lobbying for subsidies for the middle income social workers.
Welfare breaks up families by paying teens to get pregnant and by paying mothers to desert the father of their children. Welfare is a major force in the destruction of family values in minority households.
We have a duty to help the poor. We have a duty to get rid of minimum wage laws that prevent the poor from being trained in their first jobs. We certainly do have a duty to get rid of licensing laws that make the poor pay up to $200,000 for a taxicab license in some cities. In short we must stop supporting laws that keep the poor out of the job market.
We are the most generous nation on earth. According to a recent John Hopkins poll, 49% of Americans gave some time to help others (13% of Germans, and 19% of French gave time). Around 79% of Americans gave money to charity (44% of Germans, and 43% of French gave money). The amount that American contributed was $190 billion, or roughly one-third of the domestic discretionary budget (according to Time magazine).
If you value volunteer labor at minimum wage, private organizations today still provide twice as much help as public agencies in spite of the high taxes for social services. If people are willing to help the poor now, wouldn't they be even more likely to give more generously when they were taxed much less?
In a free economy, wages generally increase. Few workers stay at a subsistence level. Relative to the rest of the world, the U.S. has less regulation (but still far too much). That's why U.S. workers have had such high wages compared to the rest of the world. That's why 90% of our work force makes more than minimum wage, even though few law requires employers to pay more.
The handicapped would be less handicapped if we lived in a free society. Without regulation, medical advances would skyrocket, giving handicapped people new hope. Because of these advances, fewer of the handicapped would be disabled. Those still in need would receive more help than they do today, because society would be wealthier and fewer people would be poor.
The poor fare better in a free market economy because entry into the workforce is easier. Countries with less government intervention in the market are more prosperous and have the most even distribution of wealth. That's why a free market society would have so few people to help.
If elected, I will work to eliminate the barriers to entry level jobs. I will work to eliminate minimum wage laws. I will work to eliminate licensing of most (if not all) occupations and have people rely on certification by professional associations. We could then eliminate virtually all state welfare.
Government welfare is not compassionate. It steals from the tax-payer to pay for the benefits of other people – some of who are just irresponsible. In any case, the Montana constitution places the responsibility of pursuing life's basic necessities squarely on each person. We must keep it there. Any welfare must be a local matter. First the extended family must help, then the church or private welfare provider, then the community. State government need never be involved except in extreme emergencies.
The best solution to poverty and welfare is to establish a truly free market economy. We must get government out of the way so people can help themselves. I will work hard to make these goals a reality in Montana.