The following is an interview that was published November 2, 2011 in The Palm Beach Letter. The subject: charity.
Ellen: In the office the other day, I heard Tom say, “Mark doesn’t believe in charity.” Is that true?
Mark: If I ever said I don’t believe in charity, I misspoke. I believe in charity. But I also believe that charity can be dangerous.
Ellen: Dangerous? How?
Mark: Charity has the potential to create dependency, destroy initiative, and promote entitlement. If you give a beggar a five-dollar bill every day for nine days, then give him one dollar on the tenth day… chances are, he’ll ask, “Where’s my other four dollars?”
Ellen: That’s pretty cynical.
Mark: I don’t think so. Cultural economists tell us that human populations tend to do what they get rewarded for doing. When you provide unwed mothers or unemployed workers or homeless people with substantial financial subsidies, you are, in effect, rewarding them for such behaviors. You are creating an ever-expanding culture of people who feel entitled to stay pregnant, jobless, and homeless – and be paid for it.
Ellen: You seem to have a dim view of human nature.