The Obama administration has announced plans to develop a new metric to track poverty in the country at large, but Sutherland Institute’s latest publication indicates that such measures promote a culture of poverty and dependency on government.
In Helping Utahns Help Themselves: A Self-Reliance Index, Matthew Piccolo, policy analyst at the Institute, presents an alternative that promotes a culture of self-reliance. The Self-Reliance Index (SRI), a self-measuring tool which uses factors such as debt-to-income ratio, savings, and food storage among others things, encourages Utahns to diminish their dependency on government aid while helping their neighbors at the same time.
“The current culture exists largely because government measures poverty instead of self-reliance and seeks to fulfill people’s basic needs rather than helping them help themselves,” Mr. Piccolo said. “Government welfare programs are also ineffective because they rely on rigid poverty formulas, give inflexible responses, and crowd out private relief efforts.”
Sutherland’s new SRI will help promote a culture of self-reliance in Utah in two specific ways. First, government agencies and case managers can use the SRI to help those who are dependent on government assistance become more self-reliant. Second, Utah families can use the SRI, or a simple Self-reliance Quiz, to assess their self-reliance status and find ways to improve it.
Mr. Piccolo also said it is important to note that a culture of self-reliance relies on a vibrant culture of authentic charity. As those in need seek to become less dependent on government, private citizens and organizations in Utah will need to boost their charitable efforts.