At a very valid and healthy discussion over at the Millennial Star Blog, we were approaching the subject of the responsibilities of poor people. In the course of the discussion we slid over briefly to the subject of health care were many good points made, one being that the misuse of medical insurance is its own worst enemy. That insurance should be used to insure against big things, not pay for everything little thing (it adds up quickly). The analogy that was used was that we don't pay for gas with our auto insurance, why should we pay for routine things with medical insurance?
Well said in my opinion. However, this was given in light of the idea of the role of welfare with respect to the responsibility of each individual and the responsibilities of government. I still have not seen a good argument relating to the necessity for government to be the source of so many welfare program through the taxation of its citizens? Why is government welfare the first line of defense for so many? And why do so many push for government to be the solution.
I came up with a metaphor that I hope describes the role of the welfare system of the United States. Government welfare is like cooking in an easy bake oven. Sure the job might eventually get done, but you might die of hunger in the meantime. For those of you that don't know what an easy bake oven is, it was a toy baking product used primarily by children as an introduction to baking that used the heat from an incandescent light bulb to cook brownie batter. It took hours to cook a small little square of brownie batter than would otherwise take 20 minutes in a conventional oven.
This metaphor speaks to inefficiency, to poor use of resources, and to the time it takes for government to operate. If we care about the poor and the needy then we should also want to see the system that can provide real help when needed is as efficient as possible - government has so far shown to be incapable of providing such a service or at an acceptable level of efficiency. Hence, the easy bake oven analogy: