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March 2013


Are we losing compassion as a society? Are we not our brother’s keepers? Maybe, times are getting harder for everyone and it seems those that have a little are resenting those who have nothing. The people on welfare did not create the Welfare State. They are victims.

AFDC (originally called Aid to Dependent Children) ADC was created during the Great Depression to alleviate the burden of poverty of families with children and allow widowed mothers to maintain their households. There were other programs that served men, and usually required some kind of work be provided. The programs have grown and today unending government deficits are pushing the United States toward bankruptcy. The U.S. simply cannot afford the massive increases in welfare spending planned by President Barack Obama. Welfare spending is projected to cost taxpayers $10.3 trillion over the next 10 years. Conservatives advocate that, “Congress needs to establish reasonable fiscal constraints within the welfare system. Once the current recession ends, aggregate welfare spending should be rolled back to pre-recession levels. After this rollback has been completed, the growth of welfare spending should be capped at the rate of inflation” (Heritage Foundation”). The solution seems simple, right, but the problem is, where are the jobs going to come from for the people getting off welfare. Not only have most of the menial jobs gone offshore, many of the tech jobs have too. The very, very rich, who employ workers overseas also, can afford to lobby Congress to insure that there are no fiscal ramifications for them doing so. The owners of these multi-national corporations and tax evading paper companies and the Governments that allow their people to be exploited are promoting poverty worldwide. The rich indeed get richer, because they are politically protected.

Liberals scream that we can’t cut programs because they are fail safes for the poor. I am sorry to offend my liberal friends but, the way people in the system live, is no way to live. The solutions presented by both conservatives and liberals aren’t good. We need to educate ourselves to spot and stop corruption and mismanagement. My husband often complains about how public funds are spent in our community but insists he does not have time to attend any of the budget meetings. Don’t complain about things you aren’t willing to try to fix. There are things we can do individually, why not volunteer, mentor, teach, work in soup kitchens or homeless shelters. A small difference is still a difference. Learn to understand rather than judge. I have met children who think cows are fiction because they have never been outside of a city. There are people who have lived their entire lives without seeing a Lake or a Mountain, how could we allow that to happen. I believe that keeping expectations low and not presenting new experiences or expectations is by design. Administering large social programs creates jobs for the administrators in a society that no longer manufactures anything. We will always need programs for the disabled and mentally ill and perhaps, emergency programs for families that have faced crisis. Locally we saw families devastated by floods, and the help from the Government was minimal. The Community did reach out and support their neighbors, and it felt good both to watch and participate in. Currently programs for the mentally ill do not serve their populations and is one reason why so many are homeless. Another problem with government programs, is that they have led many of us to believe we are not responsible for our brother’s wellbeing because, “there must be some government program to address that issue” There are good private organizations that provide support to communities, but they are becoming fewer and as our tax burdens increase our ability to give decreases. Even so statistics show that the middle class donates more of their time and money proportionately than the rich.

We, the working class, rather than addressing our anger where it should be directed, corruption at the top, hate and blame the ones at the bottom for situations that are not entirely within their control. The system has become a multi-generational way of life. Why should a child do well in school so that she can support a family, when she knows that all she has to do is get pregnant and the system will set her up with all her basic needs? Not that people on welfare live well. Believe me, I know, I have both worked and volunteered with no- income families. I have been in homes where kids slept on mattresses on the floor with roaches crawling all over the place. Some may be industrious enough to sell drugs or commit other crimes to supplement their incomes, but I can’t say as I blame them. These people have grown up in the ghettos and don’t know another way of life. With the amount of money we spend on public education to ensure children are educated and employable, why are there still these inner city neighborhoods that resemble post war zones?

We need to be angry at those at the top. We need to be angry at the overfunded, bloated, mismanaged government programs. We need to be angry at regulations that do not penalize corporations that manufacture goods off shore, and exploit both people and the environment, avoiding our laws but taking our dollars. We need to be angry at ourselves for buying products made in countries where the average wage for a 13 hour day is $5.00. We need to take responsibility and not blame everyone else for allowing things to get so out of control. Write letters, vote, get involved, involve your friends, become your brother’s keeper, speak out and up, care, volunteer, share. Remember there for the grace of God go I. We have to stop what is wrong but not by hating the wronged.