Another way to help the poor is to provide them directly with some of the goods and they need to raise their living standards. For example, charities provide the needy with food, shelter, and toys at Christmas. The government gives poor families food stamps, which are government vouchers that can be used to buy food at stores; the stores then redeem the vouchers for money. The government also gives many poor people healthcare through a program called Medicaid Is it better to help the poor with these in-kind transfers or with direct cash payments? There is no clear answer Advocates of in-kind transfers argue that such transfers ensure that the poor get what they need most Among the poorest members of society, alcohol and drug addiction is more common than it is in society as the a whole. By providing the poor with food and shelter, society can be more confident that it is not helping to support such addictions. This is one reason in-kind transfers are more politically popular than cash payments to the poor. of Advocates of cash payments, on the other hand, argue that in-kind transfers are inefficient and not disrespectful. The government does not know what goods and services the poor need most. Many of the poor are ordinary people down on their luck. Despite their misfortune, they are in the best position to my decide how to raise their own living standards. Rather than giving the poor in-kind transfers of goods and services that they may not want, it may be better to give them cash and allow them to buy what they think and they need most.
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