Financial Assistance for the Poor Should Be the Responsibility of Charities, Not Government
In most western societies, people don’t starve, they get educated and have sufficient healthcare to reach an old age. And yet, the problem of rising poverty and socio-economic gaps is one of the main problems that western societies face today, and western governments have failed to tackle through financial assistance. As declared by former US president Reagan: “some years ago, the Federal Government declared a war on poverty, and poverty won.”
The core of this failure is in the misunderstanding of the way we define poverty and social status and that it isn’t as an objective situation, but rather as a relative social construct. Therefore we will show how it is not the duty of the government to give money to the poor, and the government isn’t best suited to tackle these problems, or break the cycle of poverty.
Governments solve large problems by general means, but the problem of poverty is individual - the government doesn’t have the ability to solve the problem at the personal case by case level that leads people out of poverty. Only private charities, well meaning, community or sectorial-based and unlike the public sector, unencumbered by bureaucracy, can solve each individual’s problems with the follow up needed to teach them how to fish, not give them fish.
We define financial assistance as direct distribution of money to citizens, unemployment payment being a classic example. “The Poor” as defined in this debate, is consistent with the common sociological definition, as someone who lacks a socially accepted amount of material possessions or money.
In any case, even if the poor person is in a state of destitution, we do not believe governments should directly provide money to this person, as done today. In our points, we detail our view of why it is the government’s role to directly take care of basic needs, such as feeding those who can’t afford to buy food, but not provide those people with financial aid on top of that.
What we propose is over time, reduce until cancellation the amount of money given on the basis of relative socio-economic status, while at the same time using that money to enable larger tax breaks towards giving to charity or employing the poor. We’re only cutting financial support - not actual services which enable basic rights, such as public health or schools. This will also bring about a big change in perspective, and allow the people to contribute to the causes that they believe in, instead of taking their money for a program that consistently fails to deliver results.
This will keep the same amount of money in the welfare system, or possibly more, but now the money will be targeted and used more efficiently, more discerningly, and the problem of poverty will be reduced significantly.
As long as Prop’s side can show that it is not the government’s role to give poor people money, and that the way that the government is tackling poverty is less efficient then private charities, and that the shift in perspective will only benefit everyone, then we’ve won this debate.
Please cast your vote after you've read the arguments.
You can also add to the debate by leaving a comment at the end of the page.
Financial assistance is not the government’s duty
In liberal democracies, the govt’s role is to enable the citizens’ rights. It ensures everyone can exercise basic rights & freedoms by taking care of education, health, security, etc. and operating the relevant services such as police, public health & school systems.
Governments must ensure the basic services, but not give money.
If the money enables any needed right, the gov should establish a service for it. Throwing money at the problem can’t ensure that the money will be used to solve it, or that it will be used well. When it comes to giving money, as opposed to services, this is what happens. Gov gives people money without enough supervision and follow up. And so, because it can’t address the minute details, the problems are perpetuated, not solved.
If not, then what the gov is doing is simply taking money as taxes from everyone, and giving it away to others. The gov should only take money in order to provide needed services - otherwise it should leave it to every person’s decision how to spend their money. It is unfair to harm one person by taking what he worked for, in order to better another’s, who hasn’t worked to earn it, or might misuse it. If the money doesn’t serve a critical need, then one usage of it isn’t better than the other - in both cases, the money goes towards non-essential needs[[http://tinyurl.com/66cbsdv]]
It’s the gov’s duty to enable the objective conditions needed to live in a humane manner through services which verify that the needed conditions are met. Subjective conditions are set by society, and so it is society duty’s to enable them. Money, which is free to use by the owner’s discretion, enables those subjective conditions, and so should be given to the poor by the society, since society has decided on the need and will be able to spread it better.
Bottom line, as long as the citizens’ basic rights are enabled, then any additional financial expenditure should be done by society, who'll do it better.
Today we no longer live in a pure capitalistic society where laissez-faire is the sacred value. With the advent of Capitalism 4.0 we now live in a society where the weak are looked after by the strong and the gov. takes care of its poor. Prop. is behind schedule.
Prop. also inherent contradictions within their own arguments. While Prop. argues for a liberal economy with minimal interference, they also argue that the gov. should take a larger hand in dictating how those welfare money should be used claiming we "can't ensure that the money ... will be used well".
Having said that we have 3 responses to Prop.'s first argument.
1. B/c Prop. is not actually cutting down the amount of tax for welfare (as they also specified in their Executive Summary) but just changing its utilization from direct financial aid to provision of services, their accusation that gov. is taking money from people also applies to them. If laissez faire is Prop.'s value, gov. shouldn't intervene in the first place; be it through money or services.
2. Worried about the misusage of money if given directly to the poor, Prop. claims that gov. should dictate its usage. But they're forgetting the fact that it is through such mistakes that people learn how to use money and take their lives into their own hands. If the gov. provides all the food, clothes, and other necessities the poor need, they would become ever more dependent on gov. At least with money they are able to make their own choices as how to spend it according to their own decisions. As Prop. says (in another contradiction to their argument that gov. should dictate usage of money) money should be "free to use by the owner's discretion”.
3. Prop. states “Money … should be given to the poor by the society, since society has decided on the need and will be able to spread it better.” Is gov. not a representative of society? Isn’t gov. the agent through which society makes its decisions and allocates its resources?
Breaking the cycle of poverty
Due to rising in poverty’s reliance on the government [[http://tinyurl.com/25kjt4f]] we need to give those capable of working an incentive to become self sufficient & to contribute to the economy. Currently, gov. aid is hampering this effort.
Gov’s financial aid is legitimizing the request for aid, at the expense of working & contributing individuals because once something is a govt service, people feel that everyone is entitled to it. So why work when I am entitled to an income for doing nothing? Unwed mothers have another child so as to get enough income-support to stay home.
Even if the amount of money received is lesser, it’s still received for no work, and the extra time is worth losing some money on it.
However, charities don’t just throw money at the person. They initiate solutions, e.g education, training [[http://tinyurl.com/5vprv7d]] etc.
The reasons that Gov financial aid is harming people’s ability to return to work:
1. Once labeled as one who can’t be self sufficient, one’s psychological belief of low self worth is reinforced by the government paying them to stay at home and out of the workforce. The dependence on the government grants become a crutch to lean on, causing one to doubt their abilities.
2. Especially since they have the stigma of “mooching from the public”, or being labeled on the same level as other beneficiaries of public support, such as the disabled or the elderly. This makes them resentful towards the public, and vice-versa.
3. The money is conveniently easy to come by, and it seems that working more for slightly more money isn’t worth it, when anyone who can work for money should, even if it is less convenient.
With the end of gov aid more and more people will go to work - since they won’t receive from discerning charities, and would still want to maintain their lifestyle, leaving the cycle of poverty, and leaving only those who can’t work for charities to assist efficiently.
Prop CHOSE to defined financial assistance as direct money supply. Thus the debate has no interest in ability to create better programs. However, Prop seems to distort its own stance. It dwells on reasons why GIVING money is bad, not why GOVERNMENT shouldn’t give money, while stating services charities provide.
1. Prop does not prove why government taking responsibility in giving money is a problem. The overarching theme behind 3 subreasons is dependence on government, but Prop doesn’t explain how that’s a problem unique to government. For all Prop’s reasons, the poor may as well as rely on the charities. For example, if charities label somebody as insufficient and give regular aids, why would somebody miraculously find motive for self-sustainable life that he didn’t have under government support? If charities are actually better at providing aid as Prop claims, he will be EVEN MORE dependent. Prop creates internal contradiction.
2) Prop argues reducing dependence through various programs. IRRELAVANT. As stated above, Prop chose to frame question as who is better at directly giving money. Another internal contradiction.
3) Points only target HOW government distributes money. Then we amend that, not avoid challenges. Like our model, incentive-based policy North European welfare nations adopted after unconditional aid will solve the problem.
4) Prop trivializes the cycle of poverty. We elaborated that poverty is a social issue, not just an individual’s burden. “The money is conveniently easy to come by, and it seems that working more for slightly more money isn’t worth it”—the problem lies not only in the way (NOT SUBJECT) of distribution but also in the social structure that only returns slightly more money. While we believe government bears the responsibility to distribute money to remedy that social injustice, prop seems not at all concerned about inherent causes for poverty cycle, only proving its negligence on gravity of the topic.
The government’s inefficiency
Government financial assistance to the poor is operating under a cumbersome and generalized set of criteria, designed to encompass the “average” welfare case. This kind of system can’t cater to an individuals’ situation, as explained in our 4th point.
The payment itself, such as unemployment benefits, causes critical harms to the poor, (point 2), but also many taxpayers resent their misused involuntary contributions, and feel that since the state is taking care of the poor, they shouldn’t [[http://tinyurl.com/6fe9n53]] This means poor people actually get less money than what they could have, due to relative inefficiency:
A very large cut of the tax money is lost on its way to the poor, due to red tape, regulations and administrative process required before it gets to the beneficiaries. Official US data shows that on average, 30% of the budget to assist the poor, actually end up at the poor’s pocket, with the rest getting lost in the welfare bureaucracy and mechanism. [[http://tinyurl.com/damfof]] This is in striking contrast to charities, who are able to distribute 65%-75% of their budget to the poor, if not more. [[http://tinyurl.com/5wz8txf]]
In addition, as a govt service, it’s affected by politics - the minister in charge considers only the poor, but also the lobbyists, coalition pressure, and the next elections which strongly affect who receives the money - specific pressure groups, not the most needy. Such election pressure also leads to fear of failure, which means not trying innovative solutions, because they might not have clear successful results - so instead of solutions, the govt is just making the situation more comfortable - which point 4 shows is actually harmful.
Overall, when it comes to the allocation of money, there is no comparison between the direct charity mechanism, free of conflicts of interests, and the government mechanism, which is inefficient and harms those it should benefit, namely the poor.
First of all, there is a flaw in criticizing the efficiency of the govt. in its social welfare policies. Many of a country’s functions are considered the govt.’s responsibility for the very reason for being “inefficient. Labor laws, health regulations, environmental guidelines, and energy are all, in the typical one-dimensional sense “inefficient”. They are however guided under the jurisdiction of the govt. because they set safeguard standards for the benefit of the public. Regardless of the profits lost, production limited, such govt. implementations make modern social benefits and functions that reach a nation-wide scope possible. The same goes with welfare policies. The standard, blanket policies of the govt. has its own aspects that make it essential, because it is the only body that can. While charities do have the special capability of caring for a single tree, none have the financial power or the geographic scope to take the entire forest into consideration. No charity or group of charities can compete with the financial muscle and the widespread scope of a govt. policy. With individual attention, charities trade off outreach. As much as fixing problems one by one for the sake of the long-term is valuable, people nation-wide need immediate help maintaining their everyday livelihood. This is one thing charities can never fulfill.
The US is bad example , its system is undoubtedly flawed, but that signals a failure of mechanism not of the concept. Modern welfare states like Sweden, Denmark, or Finland have shown the Nordic model in which a redistribution taxation policy makes them few of the best places to live in the world and also some of the nations with the lowest levels of poverty. This system cannot be generalized to all nations but their success is not the product of any charity group. The affirm's criticism calls for, if anything, welfare refrom, not responsibility allocation.
Charities tackle poverty better
Private charities better tackle poverty for many reasons. Across the board they do the job best, build to supervise and follow up, and have the fewest middle men between the money and the recipient, especially when compared to the gov[[ http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=4827%5D%5D
1. Charities are focused. Each charity is aimed at a specific problem, and chooses the tools & personnel most suited to solve it. None of the govt’s overhead means more efficiency. Charities aren’t burdened by needless rules, that apply only in governmental projects. They can hire and fire with no constrains, with much of the staff actually volunteering.
3. Charities have to be efficient. If they don’t show results, or if the donors feel that their money is misused, they’ll lose donors, just as if volunteers feel that their efforts are wasted, they’ll leave for a better charity. Also, by law they are more transparent then byzantine govt programs, and must be so to keep the donors happy, and acquire new ones.
4. Many Charities work directly with and in the community - charities can better understand what each community needs, and how to best supply it.
5. Agenda - A critical point is that charities don’t have conflicts of interests with other “more important” causes. They’re specific and goal-oriented.
All of these things lead to three very important results:
a. Only the truly needy receive charity. The less regulations & overhead there is, the more effort can be made towards finding the people who need help, and the specific ways to help them.
b. The charity they receive is what they need - poor students get grants, and the disabled get cheap wheelchairs but no-one gets just money thrown at their problems.
c. They can give aid in many forms - even finding jobs & preparing people for them. They have experts at their fingertips to see how those they are helping are improving, and to actually follow up and help throughout the whole process.
The Prop’s blind faith in private charities amazes us. It is clearly misinformed about critical limitations inherent to charities, some of which are obvious from actual incidents. Moreover, the accusations they place against the gov are null; in fact, they establish gov as a better entity to tackle charity. Note that gov also has capacities on the macro-level that are essential and that charities cannot have—as we will elaborate in our substantive.
First, Prop euphemizes private charities’ lack of scope and size as “focus.” Because they tackle a specific group, they tend to lack out-reach. This is why gov should overlook the poverty problem on the general, macro- level. Charities are often confined to a specific district or interest group. Gov, on the other hand, has management offices around the nation to assess the overall situation. The scale, the ability to assess the whole, of gov and charities are not to be compared. The ability derives not only from authority but also economic capacity. Gov has larger scale and better, consistent funding, as opposed to smaller charities whose funding from private donors may be sporadic.
Second, private charities are more susceptible to corruption than Prop professes. Because they are smaller and have less authority, they often rely on sponsorships, mostly corporate donors. Thus they are more susceptible to being swayed by interest groups. [[http://www.theburningplatform.com]]Add to that, it’s much easier for charities to manipulate their accounting statements. One charity was belatedly discovered by a watchdog group to have used less than 2% of its $464M for charity[[http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter]]Some “regulations” Prop speaks of about gov may be necessary in keeping its management transparent. Gov has the Formal Board for Audit and Inspection as well as other inspection organizations that keep a close eye on how the tax money is used. Because its funding comes from tax, gov is definitely subject to m
What the governmental machine can’t, society through charities can
Both sides agree poverty is a societal problem, but Opp claims gov is responsible for everything that happens in society, and should go about fixing it all. We don’t agree, and view the gov as a machinery designed to protect the citizens’ basic rights.
Social change and social responsibility don’t fall in the realms of this faceless machine. If we try to force it to deal with social change, and communist societies are an extreme example - we see their failure to progress with time. And indeed applied to this debate, we’ve already seen that gov’s consistently fail at dealing with poverty[[http://is.gd/zHHpqx]]
Two reasons for that:
1. gov inherent slowness, to which Opp conceded - the more we rely on bureaucratic gov to affect and direct society instead of flexible societal organizations, the more we slow social progress.
Being a bureaucratic machine, gov actions are always backed with tons of paperwork and several departments taking care of a single approval, making any process slow and cumbersome. Charities are constantly scrutinized by the public. Without constant proof of their achievements, charities stop getting funds and volunteers. This makes them quick and precise in their actions and goals.
2. public complacence: if gov tries to take care of a problem, then the public will do less (“someone else is doing it for me”) until the situation turns critical - and we’d prefer public involvement before a catastrophe.
Poverty is on the rise, so we see this motion as a message to society, that it cannot rely on the gov to fix it with money. The problem is rooted too deep in the social fabric for crude gov machinery methods, and needs to be addressed at the core: the public, being the driver and operator of charities.
It is exactly charities, which are the manifestation of social drive and responsibility, that will bring real change, provided we don’t continue with gov intervention, as we show in our last point.
Repeating the same arguments in different words do not create a new argument. Without responding to our rebuttals, Prop’s baseless assertion is meaningless.
1. We stated modern govt in capitalism 4.0 has more duty, which was accepted during progressive era, New Deal, and 60s civil rights movements and embedded in many states’ constitutions: individual rights can be restricted for welfare. We stated poverty is a societal problem because equal opportunity doesn’t exist. Thus we are confused as to which part Prop can’t understand when it says “gov…designed to protect…basic rights.” Where is the boundary of “basic rights” that equal opportunity essential for the system is not a topic?
Individuals have different opinions in the extent of govt role—that’s why we have left and right—but minimalist govt model is not an option in this century. The public may decide the extent by voting for a certain candidate UNDER the premise of fundamental need for substantive help to the poor.
At the same time, people know better than to have govt become a communist. Extrematization attack is cheap.
2. Public complacence—did Prop read 2nd rebuttal at all?
3. Inefficiency—3rd rebuttal. Govt aid reaches out to several millions of people who need financial assistance—as it did in the past. Looking at improvements in the poor’s conditions from industrialization, how can Prop assert govt failed? Also, it’s natural that procedural bulk increases with entity size. Large charities handle similar amounts of procedural bulk as govts; think of intricate hierarchy of the Church. Note that red tape also makes govt less susceptible to corruption. Public scrutiny for charities is insufficient to dig up the dark secrets covered in the honorable image and impenetrable hierarchy. Yet it’s appallingly unfortunate, contrary to Prop’s belief, that people, in most cases still make donations because the sacred image is too overwhelming for them to criticize charities l
Freeing the hands of society
Let’s examine the world free of direct financial aid to the poor by the gov: we already described the resentment of working citizens who see their hard earned tax money, being wasted inefficiently on welfare.
If we divide the taxpayers population into 3 types, it is evident that all types will actually contribute more than what they currently contribute via taxes:
1. The kind, good natured: will continue to donate and volunteer. Now they’ll be free to donate more due to increased tax breaks, and goodwill can fully raise its head. Moreover, people won’t feel like suckers doing the gov’s job, but like the important social builders they are.
2. Those who don’t care: now have a strong motivation to contribute, since our mechanism assumes tax breaks and other incentives. If the money goes either way, then at least they’ll get a good feeling from the act of donating.
3. The unkind or stingy: will have the same strong motivation to contribute, plus if they can give the money to the state and feel forced, or give to a charity which they like and feel better without losing any money, then their choice is obvious.
Now add that to the fact that every country has a large network of countless charities, for every conceivable cause, who are eager to reach out and help the poor and needy. In the UK alone there are around 170,000 charities[[http://is.gd/0iNXvo]] and in the US more than 1.1 million[[http://is.gd/gbu5TB]]
Many poor people don’t get to enjoy the kind of effective aid that these charities provide, because charities naturally seek the ones in most need. Therefore they would not be inclined to help those who already receive aid from the gov. With increased resources, society’s understanding of charities necessity and support,we’re freeing the charities’ hands to fully help those who need.
Those who are in most need, and no longer receive an ineffective generalized aid from the gov, can enjoy the focused, personal and effective aid from charities.
The Prop argues that 1)Gov tax breaks will stir people to donate more, 2)The number of charities translates to its ability to address all needy groups without private interests interfering in the cause, & 3)Gov assistance makes charities less willing to help the needy. All these points stem blatant misinformation. Let us proceed to make due corrections:
1. There is little logic in the belief that people who resent paying taxes would generously turn in an equal amount of money to charity.[[Giving and Volunteering in US, 1994]] Even if people felt like donating more disposable income, we cannot ignore the localized nature of charities. The charities the Prop mentioned that exists in large numbers are often community charities that are tied to the community’s values, religious preferences, interests, and income. Even if people would donate more, the rich income groups would donate to their own communities anyhow and the same for the poor. Stats show that more than 90% of donations are collected AND used within a community. That does not help in unpolarized redistribution that we stressed.
2. Number is not important. Private interests interfere with charities’ work. Gov has better SYSTEM that improves transparency. Again, gov is subject to more scrutiny as formal audit boards conduct investigations on how the funds are used. The high administrative costs are largely due to the fact that gov intentionally takes on difficult programs charities cannot. According to CharityNavigator, an average fundraiser in 2005 NJ lost 33¢ for every $ raised[[economiclogic.blogspot.com]] +Most charity workers are part-time volunteers, which adds to difficulty in tracing costs and source of inefficiency.
3. Gov’s and charities’ aid are not mutually exclusive. Gov’s eligibility tests are based on numerical factors such as income, age, medical considerations. If the Prop’s model is to provide mainly services, the poor groups would still pass the test.
Proposition Summary & Conclusion
Obviously, it’s imperative that society work toward breaking the ruthless cycle of poverty. Two questions remain: what is gov’s mandate to its poor citizens, and what’s the most effective way to break this cycle?
Prop has shown that gov is not impelled to give financial aid, rather to protect citizens’ rights. Furthermore, we showed that charities provide the best tailored solution to individuals’ problems, but hindered by aid from the faceless indiscriminate gov.
We’ve shown why govs should stick to ensuring basic rights (health care, education, safety, freedom). These rights are provided and protected WITHOUT financial aid, but rather through other existing systems. Opp vaguely argued that the poor need more rights than these however failed to mention what these are or how they are addressed by receiving gov cash.
Opp gave a generic “gov should fix society” argument, exemplifying a view of society in which gov dictates imposing, top-down policies. We’ve shown that govs should allow society to improve itself, especially as society does so better.
Indeed, Opp’s examples in this debate were in fact paradigms of govs enabling pre-existing social change. Thus, they support OUR claim that govs should simply facilitate socially driven change, taking care not to hinder it - in this case by ceasing its harmful “aid” machine & giving more tax breaks towards charities. Govs should support charities, not supersede them.
There are soup kitchens for the hungry and shelters for the homeless, but beyond these simple needs, each poor person is different. Some need money, some education, and some just the incentive to find work. This is no job for bureaucracy.
Gov is bound to operate by a set of generalized criteria that can be followed by every gov bureaucrat. This machine is effective in some instances, but isn’t suited to financial aid for the poor because -as both sides agree- we need tailored solutions that govs inherently can’t supply. Indeed, even Opp conceded that gov treatment is problematic.
Opp’s premise is that the poor make the best use of the money given them. This doesn’t reflect reality, where financial aid is misused. Their proposed solution is to add MORE regulation to a system already consuming 70% in overheads - a figure far higher than private charities.
Gov throwing money at the poor is unnecessary, inefficient, and doesn’t break the cycle of poverty. Charities’ mandate is to tailor solutions, monetary or other, and make sure the money is spent well to provide the best possible aid.
Government's duty to remedy a social problem
Weber defines state as an entity that has monopoly of legitimate violence over its constituents.[[Max Weber, Politics as a Vocation]] That monopoly accompanies enormous responsibility of ensuring order and justice for a sustainable society. Government, as an acting delegate of state and thus the society, naturally bears the same responsibility.
Not only protecting basic human rights of the poor but also improving their economic status falls in that responsibility because poverty is not just an individual problem but a social issue. In the capitalistic system, we cherish private property in the name of fair opportunity and competition. However, the problem lies on that unequal distribution of property of one generation leads to unequal opportunity for the next one. Children of the rich can pull their parental connections and fearlessly risk trial-and-error with trust funds, while the children of the poor have to risk mortgage, family, and life in starting new businesses. People say the system tries to correct itself, namely through education; but it’s simply not enough. Children of the rich go to private schools, get better connections for internship, and get credit for parental donation in going to Ivy Leagues, while children of the poor have to establish all the merits by their own. We witness tragic results; African American has a higher chance of going to prison than that of going to college.[[http://www.radford.edu/~junnever/bw.htm]]. Problem also lies in that demand surpasses supply. Unemployment inherently arises from surplus of human resources than individuals’ laziness.
When meritocracy—fundamental premise of democratic capitalism—fails to stand because of inherent social structure, it is absolutely government’s duty to remedy that injustice. That is ultimately the way to protect the system it is mandated by the people to protect. Government has to provide ample financial aid rather than minimum needs to meet that standard.
We don't accept the logical leap from “legitimate violence” to social issues. Legitimate violence safeguards rights, as we claim. Opp failed to show it’s the gov’s duty to change society. It was asserted, but none of the facts, nor the logical base of the point, supports that.
We believe in a gov that doesn’t try to “fix” society - if society believes that it has problems, then it’s society’s job to solve them, not call on gov machinery to magically fix it. As opp asked “Isn’t gov the agent through which society makes decisions and allocates resources?”, we’ve already answered No: gov is society’s last resort safety net. It isn't there to assist in every conceivable way. Gov is there to make sure that society doesn’t sink low - it’s society’s job to strive higher. That’s why we have charities. As long as people exercise their rights (for example, aren’t starving), gov is doing its job.
Moreover, Opp failed to recognize that it is supposed to protect the status quo, which they agree is problematic. Today govs fail in fixing society’s ills, and big social changes begins from society, not from govs, see our 5th point. This motion pushes the rich for further care of the poor, unlike the inefficient and unsuccessful care that gov forces on the rich today.
Furthermore, in their rebuttal to our 1st point, Opp accepted that it’s the burden of the rich to support the poor, and haven’t attacked the principled argument, thereby conceding that change should come from society, not gov.
Generally, since Opp’s attacks were based on misreps, we need to correct them:
1. Gov’t shouldn’t dictate how charities use their money, and we never claimed so. We said contributors who suspect misuse will stop contributing. If they could do the same with the inefficient usage of their tax money, they would’ve.
2. We specifically said we’ll increase tax breaks, and so we do effectively reduce tax.
3. We haven't called for further services.
Direct financial aid is better than pre-defined programs
We have 3 reasons for such belief: 1. Financial aid fosters economic autonomy; 2. is less morally degrading; 3.better serves diverse individual needs and therefore is more efficient
Let’s start with the first reason. Problem with pre-defined programs is that they leave no room for independent decisions of the recipients. The recipients are forced to accept what they are given regardless of their individual preferences or needs. For a person to become economically independent, he has to learn to manage his income. Financial aid is conducive to such independency because it only provides the raw material (money) which the recipient then has to figure out how to use it. While there may be mistakes, it is through such trial and error that people learn. In contrast, if gov. provides pre-defined goods it will only result in the poor becoming ever more dependent on gov. Financial aid is also linked to encouragement of entrepreneurship. Many people often have ideas to form their own income source (private businesses, farming etc.) but fail to do so b.c. of lack of seed money. Financial aid will esp. be helpful in such cases.
Difference btw. Prop. and Opp. is one side advocates for expenditure while the other supports investment. The money spent providing food and clothes are pure expenditures, nothing comes out of them and the costs can never be recovered. However, if we provide direct financial aid so that poor develop economic autonomy and grow out of poverty, then the money spent are investments with worthy results.
For financial aid to achieve such success there will have to be strict criteria that allow gov. to select those who have both the economic motive and capability to pull themselves out of poverty. While this debate does not call for a specific policy model, conditions such as personal record that indicate active search for job, submission of financial plan that outline how the money will be used could be used to further validate the process.
Opp’s fundamental mistake is that we will replace financial aid with services & goods, which was never claimed. Therefore they wasted two points on attacking something which isn’t debated.
We agree people should learn how to balance their budgets, but is it the gov’s duty to give them the money with which to experiment and learn? We say No - only charities, who have the insight on its need and use.
Furthermore, who would track how people are using the money? are they using it for food or alcohol? expensive clothing? are people adhering to their financial plans?
A charity would inherently do that, being deeply involved in the community. Opp can’t be seriously suggesting the gov will micro manage to that degree. We again point out that without adding any new mechanisms to date only 30% of the money allocated to the poor gets to them due to the inherent structure of gov [[http://tinyurl.com/damfof]]
Since Opp advocate additional supervisory layers on top, it leads to an absurd situation where we spend more money to pay more people from the gov budget, leaving less money to pay the poor, being all consumed by the mechanism designed to supervise it...
Even if we agree the money would be helpful and well spent, we’ve already shown how this money should not come from the taxpayer (our point 5). Further enhancements are perfectly tailored for charities.
We don’t see how opp believes entrepreneurship can be developed using money that can hardly cover the gas and electric bill with under minimum income.
Charities enjoy more flexibility than any gov program, and can tailor programs to people of different needs, such as study grants, as opposed to Opp’s stance of throwing money at the problem. An extreme example illustrates it well: most lottery winners end up being poorer than they were, having gotten money thrown at them. We are all for financial guidance and providing incentives and loans for entrepreneurship. These all can and do come from charities.
Direct financial aid is better than pre-defined programs (continued)
Poverty doesn’t make everyone want, or for that matter, need the same things. And it is extremely offensive for Prop. to assume so. Prop. claims that providing financial aid to the poor will be degrading for them. However wouldn’t it be more degrading for them to stand in line in a soup kitchen waiting to get the can of soup that every other poor people is drinking? People stand at different levels of poverty, due to different causes and require different solutions for their predicaments. General programs that provide each and every poor with the same food, the same clothes not only ignore such difference, but embody the idea that all poor are equally poor. It denies the fact that the poor are also individuals. Thus it promotes a defeatist attitude among the poor and is in fact much more degrading than providing direct financial aid.
Pre-defined programs are not only morally degrading but also inefficient. As mentioned above people stand at different levels of poverty and require different things to help their situation. A blanket provision of same goods and same programs disregards such difference and therefore fail to achieve optimal results. Prop. has mentioned the example of a wheelchair. However what if a person doesn’t need a wheelchair? What if that person is able to get around with just crutches but needs a coat to wear? If the person was given the sum for the wheelchair, instead of the wheelchair itself, he could have bought both the crutches and the coat and achieved a more optimal result for the same cost. This is the crucial difference btw. Financial aid and service provision. Financial aid allows the tailoring of aid to the individual needs of the poor. Such flexible useage minimizes the waste of gov. resources on goods that some might find useless while leading to optimal results by making the people who best know about the recipeints-the poor themselvs-choose its utilization.
Opp seem to think that it is especially degrading to go to a soup kitchen. We disagree that helping your family to survive is degrading in any way.
Moreover, we reject Opp’s idea for two reasons:
a. We did not call for additional services by the gov.
b. There’s no need to believe it will be so. Those that can work will work, if they won’t want to go to soup kitchens. Those that can’t work in the general market will find specific charities which will enable them to work within their particular limitations[[http://is.gd/tgc42F]] and those that are completely unable to work will rely on private charities to give them the financial or physical aid they require - so Opp’s doomsday soup-kitchen won’t happen.
We believe that private charities know what they’re doing, and won’t give wheelchairs for those that need only crutches - they’ll either give them crutches, or point them towards another charity, which has crutches.
This also answers Opp’s misconceptions from refutation #2: we agree that in some cases money needs to be given, but in most cases it isn’t, and gov’s general approach can’t differentiate between those cases, nor can it promise that the money will be used well.
Charities, which answer to their donors and volunteers, won’t waste money on cases that don’t need it - imagine how a charity can justify to its donors 33% of its money recipients use the money to buy cigarettes, and that it enables the drinking problems of further 15%, not to mention drug abuse - like gov enables. Only private charities, working in their focused scope, can see when their donations are misused - when giving someone money only worsens his or her problems.
So, yes - money should be given only as a last resort, and by the most discerning means. But there’s a long way between stopping giving money and crowding everyone into soup kitchens. Let gov leave its unsuccessful efforts, and let society answer its problems with its own charity efforts.
4. Gov is better suited than charities.
Prop says that charities have focus. But more important than focus is management on a general level. We need the government to overlook the collection of “focuses” in different districts. Gov will be the entity that takes charge of financial assistance to the poor, so as to address all sectors of the population suffering from poverty to a reasonable degree. We are not arguing to abolish charities; we concede to their ability to interact with and assess the local community. We are arguing that, although charities do help in the cause, the final entity that holds the authority and responsibility cannot be any other entity but the gov.
Charities are voluntary on the part of the private sector and do not hold an obligation to address the entire needy population. Gov, on the other hand, has the intrinsic duty. It also has the capacity to handle poverty on the macro-level, which stems from its far out-reach, state of being funded better, authority, and organization. Its nation-wide scale facilitates the process of assessing the situation on a macro, nationwide level. It also has consistent funding, as opposed to
Gov’s macro-level view is its problem. When you consider the bigger picture, you miss the details - and those details are people who don’t get what they deserve, or what would help them the most. Far reach means less ability to act on minute resolutions, and so we get a one-size-fits all solution which fits no-one and doesn’t solve the problem.
For example: a poor person gets a job offer, but can't get to the job because her car battery is dead. Gov can only tell her to wait two weeks until her welfare check arrives. By that time the job will be gone. A charity can simply go out and buy a car battery (or even jump-start the dead battery)[[http://www.cato.org/pubs/policy_report/cpr-18n6-1.html]]
Gov’t isn’t organized better - with political appointments and the minister receiving seat due to coalition considerations, you cannot call gov efficient. Also, there’s no promise of consistent funding: while gov itself receives consistent funding, specific ministries such as welfare experience budget cuts without notice.
The Nordic examples are problematic (not only since it wasn’t analyzed, but) since they’re mostly homogeneous democratic countries, however once immigration increased, they’ve failed in reducing their poverty - as can be seen in the immigrant town of Malmo, Sweden[[http://is.gd/UlRLk7]]
But even if we were to adopt Opp’s criteria of outreach, amount of people able to work, and amount of funds, for which they falsely believe the gov has an advantage - again charities are a clear winner: take for example the 1.1 million charities operating in the US alone[[http://is.gd/gbu5TB]], spread across the entire country. Even if each of these charities has just 5 employees, we still have millions of targeted workers doing the job, and billions of dollar in collected donations each year.
Therefore, charities have as much, if not more workers, reach, and money than the gov can hope for, and are all targeted for the purpose with less bureaucracy.
Government, guardian of the society
Prop never gave definitions of govt & charities, but they’re innately different. Charities=private entities. Govt is automatically bound to the public; charities primarily serve donors. Through govt the poor reflect their demand & exert their power. Charities reflect the rich’s will. Govt’s abandonment of the poor is dereliction of the duty; charities’, deception offense. Giving sole responsibility to the charities leaves the poor in unpredictable will of the richer, utterly out of their own will voiced by govt.
Prop argues as if govt is an obstacle to society; history shows govt adpted duty by public demand. When labor conditions presented enormity, fundamental reform was made by govt regulating trusts & courts ruling in favor of labor unions. People CHOSE to bring progressive era, expansion of bureaucracy & executive branch during New Deal because they wanted govt to do the job it was elected for.
Where were the charities in all those crises? They simply lacked money. This is exactly why govt must bear macro-responsibility. People vote for govt in return for its service. Its policy reflects people. Recognition of govt responsibility to the poor represents public acceptance of poverty as a societal problem & the poor’s power. Without that social pressure, the rich don’t have motive for huge donation other than occasional condescending penny toss for self-satisfaction. Human greed is insatiable, as it was for the rich before govt pressured them in the progressive era.
Charities can work in the local level BECAUSE govt is behind them. Govt may serve ITS duty by MANDATING local tasks partially to the charities; but govt bears the ultimate responsibility & fulfills it by granting privileges to charities, monitoring charities’ success & adjusting financial support accordingly. Even Prop knows that; what does tax break for charities—surely not a part of “minimum govt support” model—say about ultimate govt responsibility?
Self-evident things like gov & charities do not need defining, and so far Opp have managed to understand perfectly well what they are. Their analysis of their working is simplistic to the point of fault - gov doesn’t act only on welfare, and has a lot of considerations other than the poor. Considering how money influences politics, the poor are a minor pressure group, mostly under-represented. Therefore, welfare is a minor clause in a country’s budget, and one that is given to fickle changes[[http://tinyurl.com/64ozmxh]]
Also, charities are led by causes, not donors. If the rich agree with the cause, they donate. The rich are those least afraid of the gov so don’t feel any pressure to donate. And not only the rich donate. Worthy causes are taken up by ALL.
Yes, historically govs adapted to public demand - and in this debate, public demand is for better welfare, and adaptation means stopping gov support. Even their example of trade unions is one of gov ENABLING social action, and not acting by itself: gov didn’t organise the unions, it just allowed them to be organised. We believe that gov shouldn’t give charity, too.
The New Deal represents sweeping reforms, not individualized aid such as debated here. So this example strengthens our case of gov as machinery not built for and not good at individualized case-by-case aid. Then when gov money ran out, entered another depression and unemployment wasn’t reduced over time - again an example of gov inefficiency falling to our side[[http://tinyurl.com/64pertz]] Upgrading to a more recent example than 1933, Haiti shown us how everyone contributed, not just the rich, charities were faster to react than gov, and they are still there since driven by genuine desire to aid, not political reasons as govs do.
In reality, gov can’t mandate duties to charities, since they’re not gov instruments. Charities act by their own volition, but naturally when gov makes them seem redundant, then they act less.
[Response to rebuttal] Suitability: Government has essential macro-view(scale&scope), and IS better organized, better funded.
The Prop fails on multiple levels. Its args start from faulty assumptions and develop not with data but with other assumptions equally faulty.
1. It says seeing “the bigger picture, you miss the details.” Its assumption here: endowing responsibility to gov will reduce the work done by charities. As we said, we’re not undermining the work of charities/trying to diminish it; we only mean that gov should be the overlooking entity ultimately responsible. Infact, gov has mechanism that encourages donors of charities[[nonprofit.about.com]] ex:IRS grants tax deductions for charitable donations. This actually hints its capacity to control degree of funding on a nationwide level.
What we meant by outreach was not merely the number of personnel; it’s not only scale but scope: the ability to adequately address every group in need. Even if US charities were to have “millions of workers” total, each charity the Prop speaks of, that can go out and buy a car, is tied to immediate community by charters, service missions, and relationships with trustees.[[Giving USA, 1993]] Also for gov what comes with wide SCOPE is the ability to respond to national disasters or economic trends. Charities’ localized nature makes them ill-suited for this task.
2. Gov HAS better funding and redistribution.“Americans would have to make at least 10 times the donations they currently give to charity to fully replace government social spending.”[[huppi.com/kangaroo]] During economic hardship, yes budget cuts are possible but is less frequent compared to private donors cutting money. Donors are not obligated to donate. Also, stats show about 90% of charity funds are collected AND spent locally. Thus rich communities’ charities have better funding and opposites go for poor communities’. Donors identify with charities that can potentially provide something in return, so reallocating donations to other communities is hard. So gov has to step in for comms the private sector may miss.
1. “endowing responsibility to gov...” No, the assumption here is that removal of gov actions will increase charitable actions’. Again, we’re for the mechanisms that encourage charities, we’re against those that hamper them - namely, the giving of financial aid. Our motion puts greater emphasize on tax breaks at the cost of gov financial aid.
2. “Also for gov what comes with wide SCOPE...” Yes, gov can tackle disasters better, but this debate is about the poor, not disasters. This claim fits exactly with our stance - gov should act in the extreme cases of harmed rights, not in the day-to-day details of poverty.
3. “Americans would have to make at least 10 times...” Yes, but if they’ll give just three times the amount (which is likely, as we’ve explained), then the actual money reaching the poor will be more than they currently receive, since gov’t has so much overhead. More than that, even less money would still lead to better results due to smarter usage of it. Americans contribute more than $300 billion a year to organized private charities and volunteer more than 8 billion hours a year to charitable activities, which can be valued at about $158 billion.
Thus when given the choice, people entrust their donations to private charities not the government[[http://tinyurl.com/3dteydz]]
4. “During economic hardship...” not only then, but whenever there’s political change. Welfare is a very popular budgetary punching bag, since none of its dependants operate lobbyists. Again, Opp is mistaking total gov budget with specific welfare budget.
5. “90% of charity funds are collected AND spent locally...” Yes, that is exactly what we claim - today donors feel that the people elsewhere are ok, due to gov aid, so they only worry about the suffering they see. We need to fight this idea, and increase social responsibility outside of local communities - and that’s done by removing the illusionary safety of gov’s inefficient aid.
This debate has 2 parts. First, financial aid is a needed form of aid. Second, gov. is the agent to provide it. As Prop, misunderstanding the debate, has mostly focused on the latter and has dismissed our args regarding the first, we take the first part home and would now like to focus on proving the second part. But first let’s correct some misunderstandings of the Prop.
Prop said “gov should establish a service”, “It’s the gov’s duty to enable the objective conditions…THROUGH SERVICES”, yet later they claim that they never said so. Moreover whether Prop’s REPLACING financial aid with services or maintaining current services does not matter, as long as they say gov. should ONLY provide services. B/c providing financial aid has inherent values that can never be obtained through services and therefore should be provided. Prop also ASSUMES increased income gotten by tax breakers will all be turned to charity. Prop is being esp illogical in their 3-type-anaysis. Why would type2&3 donate when they don’t like donation. Wouldn’t they just keep the money for themselves?
Now, let’s move on to proving how gov is the agent to provide financial aid. First, gov has an inherent duty to help the poor b/c we no longer live in a pure capitalistic society but in capitalism 4.0 where gov. carries the burden to help the poor. If gov is a rep of society as Prop concedes, and poverty is a social problem, then of course gov as the rep should fix it.
Not only does gov have the responsibility but it is also better suited. Prop believes being local, individual and focused are virtues without flaws. However we have clearly shown their prb: 1. Being local means only being concerned with the poor under their jurisdiction. 2. Being individual means only tackling prb on personal levels when clearly larger socioeconomic causes exist for poverty. 3. Being focused means being unable to see the bigger picture. In their headlong quest for helping “their ppl” charities can cause harm to other groups. Charities are without values, but there are some functions that charities can’t serve and therefore have to be served by the gov. Poverty is obviously not just an individual problem. Because gov. has much larger scale of funding, scope and outreach they can tackle poverty on a macro level. As complex procedure is the reason they are able to have such power, we believe bureaucracy is a necessary evil. B/c gov can take into account the overall status of the poor they achieve much more balance distribution of resources. While Prop accuses gov of being ineffective, part of the reason is b/c they take care of so many ppl. Charities provide better service at the cost of entirely neglecting those outside their reach. Therefore gov. is a better suited agent then charity in some areas. And as the two are not mutually exclusive why ban one? Charities, being inside the forest, can only see trees. Let them tend to their trees, but also let gov tend to its forest.
What do you think?