Consider the recent events in NYC in which a flamboyant Chinese philanthropist proposed to give a free luncheon to a passel of homeless people and give each one $300.
So, it's not easy to give money to poor people, at least in NYC, although it is easy to give money to organizations that provide services to the poor. TOF is unclear on the benefits to be gotten by giving "several chosen" homeless $300 if they have to immediately return it. They will remain agreeably dependent on the Mission for their well-being.He [Chen] had announced the event in a full-page advertisement in The New York Times on June 16. “Leading Chinese philanthropist teams up with famous American charities to host charity luncheon for 1,000 poor and destitute Americans,” the ad said. “Each will receive 300 dollars.”
On Sunday he met with officials from the New York City Rescue Mission and asked them to supply the homeless people as guests. They said they would participate in the event as long as he did not hand out any cash, said Craig Mayes, the group’s executive director. Mr. Mayes said he was concerned that some of the clients might use the cash to buy alcohol and drugs. In return, Mr. Chen agreed to donate $90,000 to the organization, and the two parties signed a contract.
Mr. Chen addressed the audience and then uncorked the news the crowd had been waiting for: “I will give $300 for every participant today.”
The homeless men and women shot to their feet, whooping and applauding.
“No he won’t,” Michelle Tolson, the mission’s director of public relations, said. “The police will shut him down.”
Officials from the Rescue Mission quickly brokered a deal with Mr. Chen’s assistants, allowing him to hand $300 to several chosen homeless clients in a symbolic gesture. The clients, however, would have to return the money. -- New York Times
P.J. O'Rourke once pointed out that if you took all government spending on poverty programs and divided that by the total number of poor people, it would be enough to give everyone a handsome salary. Mathematically, there are no poor people. The problem is that most of that money goes to mid-level bureaucrats and to subcontractor NGOs. Bad?
But now the flip-side, as it were. Would it indeed be a good thing to hand them the $300? On the face of it, obviously so. But the Mission people, who work every day with the homeless and perhaps know something of the reasons for their homelessness, may well be right. Most of the homeless are in that state because of mental illness and/or drug/alcohol addiction. That would be $300 of booze and crack. The homeless individuals would be no better off -- indeed, in many cases, worse off -- whereas the Mission would spend the money on food, clothing, and such. So which course of action is for the good?