What means “the deserving poor?”

Homeless1Aid to poor Americans tends to skip those who need it most, according to this New York Times article, which examines an upcoming article in Demography magazine.

And here’s the speech, by Dr. Robert A. Moffitt, of Johns Hopkins University, on which the whole discussion is based. Basically, boiled down from the linked press release:

  • Programs with the most growth tended to assist only specialized populations.
  • The Food Stamp program, which also expanded greatly, does help everyone but only provides about $5 per day per person.
  • There’s a distinct trend of welfare benefits going to those who are regarded as “deserving” of support.

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Just another one of God's children.

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  1. I guess someone has to say it. Too often, “deserving” means “someone I can relate to on a personal level, someone whose story I can read and think, “There but for fortune go I.”” If they don’t look like me or act like me or work like me or worship like me, maybe they’re not so deserving. That’s why Reagan’s myth of the “welfare queen” was so successful and why it persists to this day, all the facts and evidence to the contrary.

    1. I think you’re right. If I separate myself from the poor (the working-, the all of them) then I don’t have to worry that that could be me.

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