Once in a while, a story comes along that really drives home the case against allowing government to control funding for social services. A few days ago, the Wall Street Journal ran a story about a non-profit, Community Link, having to shut down a group home for five developmentally impaired adults, because its main funder, the state of Illinois, owes it $1.4 million.
The five reportedly get along well in their home. However, because they have had serious difficulties adjusting to previous challenges in their lives, the people who know them best fear that they will suffer lots of stress if the home is broken up and they are forced to move.
Wouldn’t you know it: After reading the WSJ story, countless readers called Community Link offering help, allowing the group home some breathing space, according to a follow-up.
How much breathing space Wall Street Journal readers can afford the non-profit remains to be seen, but it shows that once you get the word out, ordinary people are willing and able to help their neighbors with disabilites – especially when the government lets them down.
Suppose, instead of taxing residents to fund the state’s social-services bureaucracy and grant-making, the state had let residents keep more of their own money instead, and let them contribute to social services directly?
In this case at least, I suspect Community Link would not have faced this crisis. Indeed, a colleague and I recently wrote an analysis concluding that if the Government had not increased our tax burden massively since the 1960s, to fund the welfare state, both our material well-being and our charitable giving would be dramatically higher today.