It may seem a cruel thing to ask whether the government gives too much money away in the name of helping the poor, especially at this time of year, when reminders to help the less fortunate are omnipresent. It is nonetheless necessary to pose the question.

Most of us agree there is dignity in work. We see self-reliance and the ability to stand on one’s own feet as being worthwhile. And we recognize there is and ought to be a profound difference between charity and subsidy.

Unfortunately, poll-obsessed policymakers and their advisers, their vision distorted by stories about the misfortune experienced by those living life in the lowest economic quintile, may have lost sight of these things.

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