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Thomas G. West

Conservatives often criticize excessive government spending and regulation. But liberals leave conservatives tongue-tied when they accuse them of lacking compassion. No word in our political vocabulary - except perhaps racism - can silence critics of the welfare state more quickly and effectively. Strangely, hardly anyone pauses to consider the easy assumption that it is compassionate to spend money on the poor. Yet we have known for some time that most poor people today have not been helped, but have been positively harmed, by the poverty programs of the 1960s and '70s. Meanwhile, most of these programs are still in place. The numbers of those dependent on them are growing rapidly.

1993 - from "Poverty and the Welfare State" in Moral Ideas for America, by L. Arnn and D. Jeffrey, published by the Claremont Institute