Saturday, January 12, 2013

Manipulating Finances to Qualify for Welfare: Philosophy in Action Podcast

By Diana Hsieh


On Sunday's Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered a question on manipulating finances to qualify for welfare.  I thought that might be of interest for our Saturday philosophy post.  The question was:

Is it wrong to manipulate your finances to qualify for welfare?  An acquaintance of mine – who is moderately wealthy – feels justified in manipulating her finances to get government aid whenever possible on the grounds that it is "getting back" some of what she has paid. For example, she had her elderly mother buy a new car for her own use, in order to have her mother deplete her savings faster and qualify for Medicaid. However, while she had paid much in tax, her mother collects more in social security every month than she ever paid in taxes. Is it rational to view this as "getting back" money that was taken inappropriately, or is it actually immoral and self-destructive?
My Answer, In Brief: It's wrong and destructive to game the welfare system.  To do that is different in its essence from seeking to maximize tax breaks or attending a state university.

Download or Listen to My Full Answer:


  • Duration: 19:41

  • Download: MP3 Segment
  • Tags: Ethics, Government, Honesty, Integrity, Law, Welfare Relevant Links:
    To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

    A podcast of the full episode – where I answered questions on manipulating finances to qualify for welfare, initiating contact in friendship, poking fun at values, gay "conversion" therapy, and more – is available as a podcast here: Episode of 6 January 2013.

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