Sometimes it’s unloving to feed the hungry. Paul said, “if anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat” (2 Thess. 3:10). That’s because, when you feed a man unwilling to work, you kill his God given motivation to work: hunger. Proverbs 16:26 says, “A worker’s appetite works for him; his mouth urges him on.” By failing to understand this basic principle, many welfare systems end up creating the problems they’re designed to solve.
The following clip provides a frustrating example of the negative consequences of a welfare system that demotivates recipients and maintains their poverty.
In the video below, Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, makes the following noteworthy remarks:
Our goal should never be to make poverty less miserable. Our goal must be to make poverty more escapable.
Getting things without working for them is a very hard habit to break. Getting things without working for them can become a way of life.
Earning your way out of poverty is much more empowering and enduring than being supported by government programs which maintain people in their poverty.
This doesn’t mean the government doesn’t play a role. Wherever possible, the government and private charities should require people to work in exchange for social assistance.
When we do this, we help people in two ways: First, through welfare, we are helping them meet their immediate material needs. Second, through work, we are helping them earn their own success – the key to a fulfilling and dignified life.