Quotes on Welfare

Living in a society, instead of on a desert island, does not relieve a man of the responsibility of supporting his own life.

— Ayn Rand

When government accepts responsibility for people, then people no longer take responsibility for themselves.

— George Pataki

In spite of its alluring name, the welfare state stands or falls by compulsion. It is compulsion imposed upon us with the state’s power to punish noncompliance. Once this is clear, it is equally clear that the welfare state is an evil the same as every restriction of freedom.

— Wilhelm Ropke

I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.

— James Madison

I think myself that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.

— Thomas Jefferson, Letter to William Ludlow (6 September 1824)

Compassion without understanding can be cruel.

— Dick Armey

If all that Americans want is security, they can go to prison. They’ll have enough to eat, a bed and a roof over their heads.

— Dwight Eisenhower

There are many farm handouts; but let’s call them what they really are: a form of legalized theft. Essentially, a congressman tells his farm constituency, ‘Vote for me. I’ll use my office to take another American’s money and give it to you.

— Walter Williams

We must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not attempt to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right as individuals to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money.

— David Crockett

Once one accepts the principle of self-ownership, what’s moral and immoral becomes self-evident. Murder is immoral because it violates private property. Rape and theft are also immoral — they also violate private property. Here’s an important question: Would rape become morally acceptable if Congress passed a law legalizing it? You say: “What’s wrong with you, Williams? Rape is immoral plain and simple, no matter what Congress says or does!” If you take that position, isn’t it just as immoral when Congress legalizes the taking of one person’s earnings to give to another? Surely if a private person took money from one person and gave it to another, we’d deem it theft and, as such, immoral. Does the same act become moral when Congress takes people’s money to give to farmers, airline companies or an impoverished family? No, it’s still theft, but with an important difference: It’s legal, and participants aren’t jailed.

— Dr. Walter E. Williams, The Morality of Economics.

Giving is not charity if it is someone else’s money.

— Christian Harold Fletcher Riley, Rights.com

Public servants say, always with the best of intentions, ‘What greater service we could render if only we had a little more money and a little more power.’ But the truth is that outside of its legitimate function, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector.

— Ronald Reagan

There is no virtue in compulsory government charity, and there is no virtue in advocating it. A politician who portrays himself as “caring” and “sensitive” because he wants to expand the government’s charitable programs is merely saying that he’s willing to try to do good with other people’s money. Well, who isn’t? And a voter who takes pride in supporting such programs is telling us that he’ll do good with his own money – if a gun is held to his head.

— P.J. O’Rourke

What you owe yourself is to work for your living; what you owe your neighbor is not to interfere with his work.

— Ayn Rand

Today, wanting someone else’s money is called ‘need’, wanting to keep your own money is called ‘greed’, and ‘compassion’ is when politicians arrange the transfer.

— Joseph Sobran

They have the usual socialist disease; they have run out of other people’s money.

— Margaret Thatcher, speech to a Conservative Party Conference (October 10, 1975)

I think the Parliament of Great Britain hath no more right to put their hands into my pocket, without my consent, than I have to put my hands into yours for money.

— George Washington

Taking money from some, extracting it by force, to give to others is just plain theft.

— David Kelley

I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.

— Benjamin Franklin, On the Price of Corn and Management of the Poor; 29 November 1766

In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.

— Voltaire

Our tenet ever was . . . that Congress had not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but were restrained to those specifically enumerated; and that, as it was never meant that they should provide for that welfare but by the exercise of the enumerated powers, so it could not have been meant they should raise money for purposes which the enumeration did not place under their action.

— Thomas Jefferson

If you have been voting for politicians who promise to give you goodies at someone else’s expense, then you have no right to complain when they take your money and give it to someone else, including themselves.

— Thomas Sowell

When once the right of the individual to liberty and equality is admitted, there is no escape from the conclusion that he alone is entitled to the rewards of his own industry. Any other conclusion would necessarily imply either privilege or servitude.

— Calvin Coolidge

The seeds of today’s runaway government were planted when it was decided that government should help those who can’t help themselves. From that modest, compassionate beginning to today’s out-of-control mega-state, there’s a straight, unbroken line. Once the door was open, once it was settled that the government should help some people at the expense of others, there was no stopping it.

— Harry Browne

The welfare state is not really about the welfare of the masses. It is about the egos of the elites.

— Thomas Sowell