Not even through the state, but the county. There are many counties within a state and only they can truly know how to help the poor in their community. They can see it everyday. The state however does not.
Societies have always had disadvantaged citizens who are disadvantaged for many different reasons (mental illness, poor education, depression, indolence etc). How should society best care for these people?
Relying on the government/state guarantees at least some level of aid for all members of society, but that aid can be spotty, politically charged and expensive.
Relying on private charity empowers people to aid others and is less expensive to the State, but often results in large coverage gaps.
I am deeply skeptical of a national problem being dealt with by charity. That model was tried all through history up to the early 20th century in the form of poor houses and soup kitchens. And it was a national shame, with people dying of malnutrition and preventable diseases. Furthermore, charitable giving dries up in times of economic difficulty.
I wonder if a better solution would be a nationally coordinated (by government) system of charities (private) providing most of the assistance, with government stepping in to fill the gaps?
Entitled rich folks will ignore the fact that they exist because 'they will never vote for you'. Mitt Romney is a prime example of how a large amount of people feel about the poor. These folks don't want to spend a dime helping anyone else because they have this flawed mentality that everyone has the same drive and networking opportunities to succeed as they have. They cannot fathom the concept that they aren't self made and required no help from anyone so they dont see a problem that needs fixing, they see whining people wanting handouts.
This is why there poor people stay poor, the rich don't want to help out.
Education is the key to reducing poverty, unfortunately education has also been marginalized, underfunded and in some cases downright vilified. The number one thing the government can provide that will allow a person to become self-sufficient is education. Increasing funding and support for education will, in the long run, reduce costs associated with welfare, imprisonment, and mental illness.
Reduce the population.
Most of you want to blame the Rich, yeah that's been tried since the dawn of time. The way I see it there is no opportunity for growth anymore, and these Rich people just happen to have been at the start. It is also hard to come up with something new people will want, so starting your own company isn't going to do well when someone else with capital and the means to lose a lot without going completely bankrupt can do it better than you..
Some of you believe it's from lack of education... ok lets carry that idea to the extreme....
Imagine a world full of Albert Einstein, do you think this person will be happy cleaning toilets for the rest of his life, because someone has to do it, if everyone is educated, the only thing you're going to see is higher crimes rates with very cunning lethal criminals and more suicides.
But none of that would solve the poor people problem... other than them not existing in the first place.