Government leaders are pushed, pulled, and prodded by compassionate constituents to provide assistance to suffering people. Programs that alleviate suffering create great publicity for public officials. Eventually this charity turns into entitlement.
Our prosperity as a nation is in spite of these programs, but our downfall may be because of them. As people become more secure that they will not have to face the consequences of the stick, they will engage in less of the behavior that develops people into strong citizens, and weak citizens are the death of an empire.