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Interesting post. A few counter-arguments:

  1. In France the government "charity" flows from multiple programs, like minimal income, etc... Most of the administration is purely local (my mother works at a "Centre Communal d'Action Sociale" - city social help, in a team of around 20 people). Even the minimu income administration is now per county ("departement"). This avoids the "big government effect".

  2. government charity does not forbid personal involvment, and there is lots of it in France. The government encourage it with very generous tax rebates (2$ in tax deduction for 1$ personal, nobody shown a country where the system is so incitative).

  3. Most government-paid workers in those institutions are catholic and I trust the government to be far less corrupted than the catholic church management (so happy that lots of tempting money is just not there for them).

  4. Government help will suffer much less for what is currently fashionable "trends" in help. Will churches help the seropositive gays? Most won't.

  5. Government managed healthcare is essential. If you take the "poor" in France, they still have zero cost access to the very best health-care with no delay and no question asked, compare with other countries with "private" healthcare.
by Laurent GUERBY on Sun Nov 26th, 2006 at 06:19:53 AM EST
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