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"Not all government programs benefit the relatively poor."  Discuss this statement...

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yaga49 | Valedictorian

Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:06 PM via web

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"Not all government programs benefit the relatively poor."  Discuss this statement with examples.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 16, 2013 at 2:14 PM (Answer #1)

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There are at least two ways in which not all government programs help the relatively poor.

First, there are government programs that are not even really meant to help the relatively poor more than any other segment of the population.  For example, the government program in which mortgage interest is tax deductible is really meant to help the middle class, not the poor.  So are programs like price supports for farmers. These programs are meant to help people who are not poor but who have political clout that the poor do not have.

Second, there are government programs that are meant to help the poor but which, some might argue, do not actually do so.  An example of this, at least in the minds of conservative scholars, is what we call “welfare.”   Welfare programs are things like food stamps that are meant to help the poor have a better standard of living.  However, conservatives would argue that these programs are actually harmful to the poor in the long run.  This is because they create incentives for the poor to avoid doing things like taking any work they can find.  They create a culture of dependence on the government that prevents the poor from really wanting to get ahead.

Thus, there are programs that are not even meant to help the poor, but there are also programs that (some people would argue) are meant to help the poor but may not do so.

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