Hit & Run

John Stossel on Government Playing Santa Claus

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Government creates loyalty in the minds of citizens by pretending to be Santa Claus, doling out gifts and favors. Politicians claim they help those unfortunates who aren't helped by coldhearted capitalism. But the truth, writes John Stossel, is that government gets in the way of charity, making it harder for people to help others and for the poor to help themselves; and it also gets in the way of commerce, which is what really makes people better off.

If government didn't discourage it, more charities would do even better work with the poor, argues Stossel. Human beings don't sit around ignoring the suffering of their neighbors. But we are most likely to neglect these moral tasks when government insists it has everything covered.