The first significant efforts to initiate social welfare in our county started around 1935 after the Great Depression. While the goal of assisting the poor and having the government “create” jobs to help people get back on their feet – this social experiment is now over 80 years old and we need to honestly ask ourselves – what are the results?
- Are there fewer people living in poverty?
- Have crimes rates declined (especially in the inner cities)?
- Are families finding it easier to climb the economic ladder?
The truth is that we have created a system of generational dependence on government. Let me put that in terms that may be easier to understand. Rather than providing long-term solutions, our government is putting a band-aid on a terminal wound that is killing the American Dream. America has become the great enabler.
Let me share a few examples of how this enablement works:
Foreign Policy: Our government has spent hundreds of billions of dollars (perhaps into the trillions) helping our “friends” around the world. We provide aid, weapons, food, money, defense systems, and even human manpower all over the world in an attempt to “advance foreign policy,” but a significant number of our so-called allies hate America. They hate what we stand for, they don’t respect our values, but they are oh so willing to take our money and stand behind us while we protect them. If our politicians would simply have read William Lederer’s book, “The Ugly American,” first published in 1958, they could have implemented a much more successful form of “foreign aid” initiated by people who understand working within a foreign culture and helping people to become self-sufficient.
Domestic Government: Our government was established with the goal of “politicians” being average people who left their jobs for a short period of time to work as “public servants.” Our government officials were never intended to be a professional class of employees who voted themselves raises, took luxurious junkets, and created massive bureaucracies that have to be subsidized by the people. They have created a state of entitlement for themselves, when they are supposed to be humble servants of the people. Maybe this is the reason we didn’t have a federal statute imposing income taxes until 1913. There was a tax system in place briefly in the 1860’s, but our permanent tax system was ratified in the 16th amendment. I wonder how the country functioned for 137 years without a federal income tax? Maybe we should start working our way back to the pre-1913 system of government.
Social Welfare: Yes, I run the risk of being called a cold, compassionateness, privileged, white…. add as many adjectives as you like. In truth, my view of welfare is far more compassionate than what the government tries to create. Let’s start with the problem. It doesn’t take a national research study to know inherently – government run welfare is failed system. Period!
As I noted in the beginning we have created a generational dependency on the government. If our welfare system works, then someone explain to me why are “government dependents still milking off the federal teat generation after generation?” If America where your house wouldn’t you strive to raise your children to work hard, become self-sufficient, and productive members of society. Can you do that if you don’t require them to work, contribute to the household obligations, and REQUIRE them to do their fair share for the collective good. In many ways we see in much of our youth, what we see in American – a generation of people who think everything is a free lunch.
So what is the answer to the welfare state? I have a very simply philosophy of what we need to do:
- Return our country to a “states rights” philosophy of governance removing ALL federal mandates to the states. In other words why send money to the Feds, have them bleed off their portion and then send a small portion back to the states with so many mandates they can’t operate autonomously or in the best interest of the people. Mandates and federal oversight guarantees massive waste and fraud.
- Empower local charities. This doesn’t men throw money at them, but give them the liberty to work in their own communities where they know the needs. If you look at how much money goes to the end need in a small charity compared to a large bureaucracy (government or charitable), you will quickly see who is the most effective in creating change. Local communities know their people, know the specific situations, and can customize care to a real and genuine need.
- There ain’t no free lunches. With few exceptions welfare recipients need to work for what they get. We are not talking about chronic illness, etc, but people who have some form of disability or restriction can do something – anything. Tell me why, with all the jobs that can be done remotely, we can’t find productive work. Maybe we should hire these welfare recipients to tract data on government abuse and report it back to “we the people.” We need to put America back to work.
- Get government out the competitive marketplace. Outside of the military tell me one government run program that is efficient and effective. You want to waste billions and produce nothing of consequence – turn it over the the government to run and operate. Look at the quality of healthcare and spiraling cost ever since the government thought they could function better than a free marketplace.
Like so many in my generation, I have a hard time seeing the country I grew up in. It saddens me that we have left our children with trillions in national debt, created a culture of division and animosity, and most importantly programmed them to think the government actually serves the people when what they serve are themselves.
And still I say – “God Bless the USA!”