TANSTAAFL continued – A couple of comments came back – which is good! Both raised the issue of welfare being a free lunch for people – interesting question! So let’s take a step back and see from where welfare arises. Either the federal or provincial government – or sometimes both, provides financial support to those people in Canada who meet certain tests or conditions – no other sources of income, severe physical or mental or medical health issues, people with various addictions, etc.
I will not debate the political issues of whether or not these individuals are deserving of government largesse – this is an a-political blog! With that out of the way, from where does the money come? Not government, but every other tax-paying individual in Canada – so is it “free” – no, there is a cost and all taxpayers share in the burden – but is it “free” to the recipients? Let’s consider some other issues aside from the many very serious conditions many people face who are on welfare – some of their own doing and many not of their own doing. For those living in direct consequence of their own actions (or inactions), I would suggest they are paying a very high price indeed – loss of contact with family, long-time friends, what about their self-respect, self-image and self-worth? Aren’t these things beyond price in the conventional sense?
Again, this is not a political dialogue but rather identifying the true cost of things we often take for granted – cost is not necessarily dollars and cents – but there can and is a mental and emotional cost we all pay at various times. For those individuals who truly need financial aid from governments, are we really helping them if we do nothing to help them break their present cycle of life and health – and the mental and emotional stress they face 24/7?
If we accept the premise that welfare is necessary, should we then also accept that simply handing out cash or vouchers isn’t really helping people change?
Shouldn’t welfare be made into a positive experience that truely helps people rather than merely sustains them?
How do we change the image and impact of welfare? I don’t have any pat answers – and neither does anyone else – lots of theories and most seem to be based on simply adding more money to be given away rather than changing people’s lives – or rather allowing them and helping them change their OWN lives! Money is not an answer although it belongs in the mix.
In challenging economic times, everyone pays more attention to government spending and welfare is an easy (and expensive) target because in general terms, the public doesn’t see any long-term positive results – so the question becomes – why spend tax money when the problem never gets any better?
Hope these comments cause some thinking in lots of minds!