The middleman bureaucracy and our Welfare State / by kevin murray

America is a country that has morphed over the years to which it has embraced the "New Deal" and "the Great Society", to which it believes wholeheartedly by its actions in the merit of the welfare state and therefore in the re-distribution of income.  For all practical purposes, assets cannot be created out of thin air; they must come instead from the productivity and output of the people of the United States.  Consequently, America has made it their policy to provide social welfare to those indigent poor that are in need of or require subsidized assistance for services such as food, shelter, and healthcare.  These programs are ultimately funded by the taxpayers of America.


America is a wealthy nation, but wealth is not something that grows on trees, it requires effort, right thinking, and perseverance.  Additionally, America is considered to be a generous nation in regards to its charitable donations, its volunteers, and its concern for its own citizens as well as the denizens of the world.  Therefore, in principle, most Americans do not have an issue about helping their fellow man that is down on their luck, unhealthy, unemployed through no lack of effort, and so forth.  When it comes to the actual welfare state in action, however, many Americans, have concerns about its efficiency, its effectiveness, its purpose, its bureaucracy, its corruptness, its desirability, its needs basis, and its overall long-term plan.


Let's face it, the most effective donation, the most effective transfer of aid, is the direct transfer of cash from one person to another.  That is to say, when you come across someone begging on the streets of America, and you hand over to that person $5, you know for a certainty, that $5 was handed directly to that individual, so as to use it as he best sees fit.  You may not know this person, but there are millions upon millions of people on welfare that you do not know either.  You may not know this person's true needs, but again that is true too of millions of people currently on welfare.  The recipient of the money that you have donated may not use this money wisely, that also is true, but at least he now has the opportunity to do so.


There are great charitable organizations that have very low administrative costs, meaning in these particular charities that over 90% of the monies collected are actually utilized on the programs and services that they are meant to perform, and less than 5% is spent on administrative expenses.  There are also various new ways of providing charitable aid, such as is done with "Give Directly", which as it name does imply, donates the cash directly onto the recipient's cell phone to be utilized at their discretion.  Then there is our present welfare state, with our myriad programs, rules, bureaucrats, sycophants, and the like, that places their heavy thumb onto the scale of welfare, cheating both the recipient and the giver. 


Our welfare state should be far simpler, far more local, and far easier to administer.  The bureaucrats should be reduced to an absolute minimum, and the recipients of said welfare should receive far more aid in the form of cash or cash equivalent to be utilized as they best see fit.  The objective should be to cut out the middleman and instead to allow the aid to get directly to those that are most in need of it.  The tools to effect this change are already with us, our government has issued each American their own Social Security #, each state has its own Driver's License #.  The Internet is intuitive and powerful, so are today's smart phones.  Through these tools, transfers of aid would be far more seamless than they are performed today, making it more akin to a  banking-like transfer, simpler to process and simpler to use.