When is Help Deserved

I was watching a political satire recently that got me thinking.  A number of white hillbillies were asking when the politicians were going to clean-up Washington.  The speakers were proud to state that they were living on disability, unemployment, food stamps or farm subsidies.  They felt that had earned these payments, but were upset that the government couldn't seem to balance the budget.

Do we live in a society that expects the government to take care of us (The Nanny State)?  Do you believe this is the case?

Let's be clear upfront.  I believe in helping your neighbor.  I spoke about this in an earlier post.  We have a moral obligation to take care of those around us and help them in any way that we can.  This is a thought process from the 19th century, but it deserves to be dusted off.  Not wanting to be taxed to "help" someone is not the same as not wanting to help someone.  Using the War on Poverty as proclaimed by Lyndon Johnson in the 1960's as an example, we can conclude that throwing money at the problem alone does not solve the problem.  This is not to say that to solve these issues doesn't take money, but additional resources (time, skills training, counseling) are needed to make the money expenditure successful.

There is a couple I know with a child with a rare disease that causes her to be unable to digest most foods correctly.  This leads to extreme gastrointestinal pain, rashes and even bloody stools.  The family has learned to feed this child only the foods that she can handle and slowly over years they have been able to add some additional foods.  Recently this couple had their second child.  Unfortunately, this second child has the same rare disease, and it is even worse.  Needless to say, the parents are stressed and trying to figure out what they can feed their new child while still caring for the first.  They are still working through this process and not getting much sleep.  As a group, we have rallied around this couple and begun spending evenings and early mornings on shifts, caring for the children while the parents sleep.  It is not ideal, and we don't know how long it will take, but we are assisting the only way we know can.  We could provide money for a paid caregiver, but would you trust your new sick child to just anyone.  I wouldn't and neither would they.  We can only offer our time and our compassion.  Money isn't the issue.

We have a right to expect the government to provide for the common defense.  We have the right to expect the government to allow us life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  We do not have the right to expect the government to take care of us. We have the right to take care of ourselves, our families and our friends.  The government (local, state or federal) has zero obligation or even any right to provide for us.  The government creates no wealth.  They print the money we use, but they don't create the goods and services that make those pieces of paper valuable.

Since the government doesn't make wealth, it needs to tax its citizens in order to pay for anything.  I have no problem being taxed to pay for defense.  I have a problem being taxed to pay for other social programs.  I should choose how to spend my money helping others.  The government has demonstrated over the years that it still doesn't understand how to allocate and spend my money better than me.

As citizens we deserve to pursue our definition of happiness with the least amount of involvement from the government.  The government should have no claim on the money I earn beyond the basics of running the government.  Those of you out there who think you earned some sort of government payment are simply wrong.  Unemployment is only partially funded by any contributions you might have made while working.  Most of it comes from the employers who are required to contribute.  This isn't a long-term solution nor was it meant to be.  Ninety-nine weeks should be more than enough to find some other job.  It may not be the job you want or similar to the one you had, but it is a job.  Disability should be reserved for those who truly can't work, not the thousands who just don't want to work.  You have a bad back, yet you think you can't work.  You sit around all day anyway.  Learn a new skill that lets you sit.  You can still contribute.  Food stamps should be for food.  Period.  Nothing else.  Period.  Farm subsidies were an attempt to make sure the farmer could survive and leads to price fixing of commodities.  We try to live in an open capitalistic society and yet we have fixed prices so that we can pay a farmer to not grow something.  In the old days if you didn't produce something you certainly didn't get paid for it.  Let's get back to that.  We have a romantic notion of farming and how it is a family business.  It was before, it isn't now.  If you can't make a living growing or producing something on that farm, get out of the business and do something else.  As a taxpayer, I shouldn't be required to pay you not to work when you could easily earn money by actually working.  I'm talking to you Al Gore and all of your farm subsidies.  Gentlemen farmers certainly shouldn't earn money for not farming when they had not intention of farming in the first place.

If you earned it, then it is your money.  If you didn't work (today) to get that money then you didn't earn it, and you don't deserve it.  If your friend or family chooses to give you money that they earned that is up to them, but you don't deserve some nameless, faceless stranger to provide it for you.  Learn a new skill.  Get a new job.  Find a way to provide for yourself without requiring Big Brother to provide it for you.  If you begin to rely on the government to provide, you may find that this benevolent group one day decides that you no longer qualify for their gifts and benefits, and suddenly you no longer have anyone to blame but yourself.  Support yourself and those you care about.  Soon enough you will find that you don't need the government as much as it needs you.