(Enter Stage Right) -- The concept of a social safety net is well accepted throughout the Western World. The idea that some provision should be made for those who through no fault of their own are unable to provide for themselves first appeared as a state policy in Germany in the 19th century as the Iron Chancellor, Bismarck, sought to coopt the popular appeal of socialism and strengthen the newly founded German Imperial state. The idea struck a chord in the hearts of most people in Europe and in the hearts of its descendants around the world.
In days gone by the family, the parish church and the local community had filled this need. However, with the growth of cities and the near total separation of these urban populations from the land, it became necessary for the wider community to accept this responsibility.
It was inevitable that since some sort of agency or bureau was needed to supervise the distribution of such aid this public apparatus would follow the trajectory of all bureaucracy: growth. Mission creep would inevitably set in as the bureaucrats would seek to build their kingdom. Services would increase so that the servicers would increase and one layer would insulate another. From providing the bare necessities to those who through no fault of their own could not do so we have reached a stage where the modern ideal of fairness intersects and we have the self-selected indigent demanding a living wage for doing nothing.
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