Can we afford inefficient social welfare?

Frank Macskasy as posted a detailed plea at The Daily Blog to “feed the kids” in (some) schools:

Can we afford to have “a chat on food in schools”?

While no one wants to see kids going hungry this is ineffieciently throwing money at one small part of a much bigger problem, and it doesn’t even address any of the causes.

I commented the following on his post:

I see two significant problems.

There’s no dispute that some families really struggle, they really struggle caring for their kids, feeding them, clothing them, providing them with a decent place to live, giving them decent medical care.

Social welfare is not enough for many people. Wages and tax credits and other means of assitance are not enough for many people. And this obviously affects a lot of kids.

We also have a problem with a huge social welfare cost.

All governments have to make decisions about how much money is provided and how much is allocated to “people in need”.

There are a wide variety of circumstances and needs.

The country cannot afford to just keep giving more money across the board.

Choosing one small part of this problem like hungry kids in schools and giving a sub group of kids going to school more will help some kids, but it will also give to kids who don’t need it.

Mana say their Feed the Kids bill will cost about $100m a year. That’s not much out of the whole budget.

BUT

It gives more than is necessary, not all the targeted kids need it.

And you could pick many small groups to target. Governments have been doing this for decades. It helps some and gives more to others who don’t need it.

And all these small innefficiencies in targeting add up to huge inefficiencies.

And some like the Feed The Kids bill doesn’t even address the causes of the problem.

I don’t think trying to guilt people into supporting a small well meaning but inefficent programme to feed some kids helps.

There are much bigger problems that deserve far better attention.

Leave a comment

2 Comments

  1. AngryTory

     /  10th May 2013

    Can we afford inefficient social welfare?

    now lets try that again: Can we afford social welfare?

    what’s the answer: well simply, no. We can’t afford it, we borrow every dollar we spend on welfare. We can’t afford it. Beginning. end.

    While no one wants to see kids going hungry

    On the contrary: kids, their families, unionists, and bludgers etc “going hungry” is an absolute precondition for any effective economic reform!

    Thatcher knew that, Roger knew that, Ruth certainly knew that.

    Reply
  2. Ovicula

     /  10th May 2013

    Seeing Tories are so important, starving a few of them to death would probably be far more effective.

    Reply

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