1. In many religions, believers are supposed to take care of one other.
2. In many religions, specific instructions are given to attend to the poor.
3. In many religions, meeting a person's physical needs is considered
essential as part of meeting a person's spiritual needs.
Example: "The Bible contains more than 300 verses on the poor, social
justice, and God's deep concern for both."
1. All people are entitled to not going hungry.
2. All people are entitled to an education.
3. All people are entitled to an equal opportunity to improve
themselves and their circumstances.
Example: "The share of those who skip meals, miss rent payments, or
can't pay for child or medical care has climbed for those leaving the
[welfare] rolls in South Carolina and Wisconsin, which conducted
1. If someone is hungry, they are not going to be interested in
anything other than satisfying their hunger.
2. People cannot acquire an education/training to become a productive
member of society if their basic needs are not being met.
3. Assistance that helps people ultimately acquire a job and become
self-sufficient is cost-effective.
Example: "Education and training are key ways to help those struggling
to make it after welfare. While existing training programs hardly work
miracles, studies show they can make a critical difference."
Mutual self-interest arguments:
1. If people's basic needs are not met, they are likely to turn to
crime and harm others.
2. Children raised in poverty are unlikely to be able to improve
their situation as adults.
3. People with inadequate access to basic health care ultimately cost
society more when they receive elaborate and expensive health care for
conditions that could have been prevented.
Example: "Democrats and Republicans alike point to the important
accomplishment of having broken the cycle of dependency that welfare
creates." However, "[e]ven hard-line sponsors of the 1996 law
recognized that former welfare recipients needed support. This
included child care, health insurance, training, and what manpower
jargon calls "income disregards." The latter term means that new
workers, mostly women with children, should not lose a dollar of
welfare benefits for every dollar in their paychecks, because this
would kill their incentive to work. Three long-term experiments,
recently evaluated by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corp., found
that more generous income-disregard formulas make dramatic
improvements--in success at work, the well-being of children, and even
"The Bible on the Poor" http://www.zompist.com/meetthepoor.html
"Commentary: From Welfare to Worsefare?" By Laura Cohn, BusinessWeek
(October 9, 2000) http://www.businessweek.com/archives/2000/b3702165.arc.htm
"The States Are Ending Welfare as We Know It--but Not Poverty " By Robert Kuttner,
BusinessWeek (June 12, 2000)