And here is an excellent commentary by Thomas Sowell on the moral implications of affirmative action:
Here’s my take.
The “poverty line” is culturally set and is not limited to bare needs. Mostly because those “needs” change along with what the culture considers to be a need.
I have a hard time believing that homeless people in our country are better off when we simply move them into a house, give them a car, some walking around money, free medical care, etc. At some point you have to have real consequences and real rewards, and that is what government assistance eliminates.
Private institutions like church groups, however, are better about weeding out those who really do need a hand up vs those who are simply looking for a hand out. Government cannot do that job, as it’s repeated failure in that area clearly shows us.
One of the underlying problems we have when it comes to welfare is this. We do not live in a utopia and as long as the law of scarcity of resources is in play, we will NEVER live in a utopia. So in lieu of that pipe dream, merit-based rewards are the most fair way we can distribute the existing wealth (which is not static btw) and encourage the creation of new wealth.