I had to read this three times before I got the message (I think).
True it is that often government programs really don’t fulfill the objectives very well . . . . .
. . . but maybe in Canada we are doing things differently!
Thirty years ago, social assistance used to be a hot political topic in Canada. It seems we had too many freeloaders! Now, we hardly hear about it.
I have known more than a few people on social assistance. Many of them have run through a rough patch of life. They got a little help. Six months later, they are on their feet again and more or less self-reliant. Yet too many conservative thinkers would like to dismantle the entire system. They believe the freeloaders outweigh the benefits of the short term help.
I also know a few “freeloaders”. I would have to say that I would not hire most of them to watch paint dry. They are physically or psychologically damaged enough not to really handle the rigors of a 40-hour job. Inflicting them into the job market is more harmful to the economy than the benefits they receive for doing nothing.
In other words, we Canadians have adjusted our social programs such that we are finding the truly needy who become long term users of social assistance. This is often done with small amendments to current legislation or actual overhauls to the old way.
It seems that in the USA, such changes are very difficult to implement. So the USA is stuck with programs that do not obviously work well — giving enough political fodder for conservative to dismantle them rather than amend them. BTW, Mr. Trump is not tampering with federal social assistance and I wonder why!
In Alberta, I think we are moving to welfare system that allows long-term users to work 10 to 20 hours a week without a big penalty in their benefits. Such people will gain skills and confidence. In time, some will move off the permanent roles.
So I still think there is a great role for governments in terms of charity. I would not want social assistance programs to be run by hodge-podge groups funded by the wealthy.