For a long time I rode the subway and felt compelled to give money to the poor. As I get older and older I find myself less sympathetic to panhandlers and consequently, I give less often than I did before. On the one hand, my hesitation stems from my realization that we live in America and there are people throughout the world whose need for assistance is far greater (an Oprah-esque approach if you will). On the other hand, I feel that in giving money to panhandlers I'm reinforcing a negative habit and making an uneducated investment in the life of someone in need. I simply can't bring myself to condone the poverty of dignity that is inherent in panhandling.
Do you give money to panhandlers? Please explain why or why not.