In today’s Daily Barometer, Applied Ethics graduate student Thomas McElhinny has penned an opinion piece called Poverty is Not a Character Flaw, It is a Lack of Money, in response to the article Government Assistance Programs Encourage Poverty, from last Thursday. McElhinny takes direct aim at the assumptions behind assistance programs across the political spectrum and raises serious concerns about the ethics of existing attitudes. Here’s a taste of the piece (please click the link for the full article!):
“Contrary to Mr. Pells’ recent piece in The Daily Barometer (“Government assistance programs encourage poverty” Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012), all government assistance programs do not “reward bad behavior.” Examples include student loans, foster family programs, and mental health services. The likely dodge I would hear from Mr. Pells is that he was only talking about those terrible programs that “frivolously give away” our tax dollars to the working poor, single parent/income households, senior citizens, veterans, and disabled folks.
“The first third of his article, aside from illustrating he would make a worse dinner guest than Hannibal Lecter, is spent arguing that his “friend” is morally deficient. I am unaware of the specific economic realities of the individual cited, but considering he qualified for Electronic Benefit Transfer — food stamps — and with the picture Pells paints, I imagine he could possibly be a borderline case for government assistance. Even still, it is better to support a borderline case of a young person working to better himself through education than write off the suffering of members of our community who could use some help.”