A plan to replace welfare.

One of my readers, Mr. Harvey Poppel, was impressed with the amount of charitable giving in the USA. He (and I) both would like to see the federal government be less involved in socialistic (welfare) programs. He suggests that it would be “far better to allow people to ‘vote’ where their money goes” than for the federal government to take their money and, subsequently, dole it out with the typical bloat and inefficiency of all central planners.

Here is his plan. I think it is brilliant.

”Harvey Plan” is free-market based–replace all government welfare and wealth redistribution programs (many $hundreds of billions) with a simple change in the IRS code—enabling individuals (and possibly businesses) to take a 100% tax credit for any money donated to any IRS-approved charity serving those Americans who previously received government handouts. Money would then flow to those charities doing the best work most efficaciously. Government role limited to watchdog.

Currently 80 different agencies administer at least 126 different programs to fight poverty (Footnote). They hand out nearly one trillion dollars per year in welfare benefits. The overlap, fraud, and abuse are legendary.

I think Mr. Poppel is on to something here!

Roy Filly

Footnote (Data is from 2012. Sorry. Best I could do.):

List of All 80 Federal Welfare Programs

The means-tested welfare system consists of 80 federal programs providing cash, food, housing, medical care, social services, training, and targeted education aid to poor and low-income Americans.

For instance, SNAP enables recipients to purchase more food, Medicaid provides people with health care coverage, and Pell grants make postsecondary education more affordable for students.

Over 100 million people — about a third of the U.S. population (35.4%)1, received aid from at least one welfare program at an average cost of $9,000 per recipient.

In 2012, federal spending on 10 largest of the 80 programs — which account for the bulk of welfare spending, totaled $588 billion with Medicaid accounted for more than 40%, followed in size by SNAP.



Family Planning

Consolidated Health Centers

Transitional Cash and Medical Services for Refugees

State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

Voluntary Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit — Low Income Subsidy


Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program

Breast/Cervical Cancer Early Detection

Maternal and Child Health Block Grant

Indian Health Service

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

Supplemental Security Income

Additional Child Tax Credit

Earned Income Tax Credit (refundable component)

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

School Breakfast Program (free/reduced price components)

National School Lunch Program (free/reduced price components)

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)

Reading First and Early Reading First

Rural Education Achievement Program

Mathematics and Science Partnerships

Improving Teacher Quality State Grants

Academic Competitiveness and Smart Grant Program

Single-Family Rural Housing Loans

Rural Rental Assistance Program

Water and Waste Disposal for Rural Communities

Public Works and Economic Development

Supportive Housing for the Elderly

Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities

Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance

Community Development Block Grants

Homeless Assistance Grants

Home Investment Partnerships Program (HOME)

Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)

Public Housing

Indian Housing Block Grants

Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers

Neighborhood Stabilization Program

Weatherization Assistance Program

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

Indian Human Services

Food Program Nutrition Assistance for Puerto Rico

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)

Nutrition Program for the Elderly

Indian Education

Adult Basic Education Grants to States

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant

Education for the Disadvantaged

Grants to Local Educational Agencies (Title I-A)

Title I Migrant Education Program

Higher Education — Institutional Aid and Developing Institutions

Federal Work-Study

Federal TRIO Programs

Federal Pell Grants

Education for Homeless Children and Youth

21st Century Community Learning Centers

Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR-UP)

Child Support Enforcement

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) (social services)

Community Services Block Grant

Child Care and Development Fund

Head Start HHS

Developmental Disabilities Support and Advocacy Grants

Foster Care

Adoption Assistance

Social Services Block Grant

Chafee Foster Care Independence Program

Emergency Food and Shelter Program

Legal Services Corporation

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (employment and training component)

Community Service Employment for Older Americans

Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Adult Activities

Social Services and Targeted Assistance for Refugees

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) (employment and training)

Foster Grandparents

Job Corps

Grants to States for Low-Income Housing in Lieu of Low-Income Housing Credit Allocations

Tax Credit Assistance Program

Older Americans Act Grants for Supportive Services and Senior Centers

Older Americans Act Family Caregiver Program

  1. Terence P. Jeffrey, The 35.4 Percent: 109,631,000 on Welfare []
  2. Source: Congressional Budget Office, Growth in Means-Tested Programs and Tax Credits for Low-Income Households []




About Roy Filly

Please read my first blog in which I describe myself and my goals.
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4 Responses to A plan to replace welfare.

  1. Dick Toomey says:

    The idea is to allow the “donor” to decide who gets the money? That idea eliminates much of the huge bureaucracy that manages welfare; plus it takes power from the agencies and puts it into the hands of the people. Not only would that idea never get to first base — it would never make it to the on-deck circle. You’re daring to suggest a smaller Federal government, more efficiency, better results and cost savings. Blasphemy. .

  2. trailbee says:

    As per Mr. Toomey: tsk, tsk, tsk 🙂

  3. Roy Filly says:

    Mr. Toomey is speaking tongue in cheek. Of course, he’s right that the federal government would never allow this. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  4. Anne Malcolm says:

    The only objection I have to the program is allowing the IRS to decide who is “approved.” I want to get rid of the IRS. As for charity I keep telling my liberal pro-abortion friends to start a charity to provide “free” abortions via contributions. They can decide who is “deserving” of killing a baby, as long as killing babies is legal here in the USA. That way they don’t have to bother nuns and others who do not want to be involved. Somehow they don’t kind of like it but ultimately object because they want it ENFORCED.

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