It is time for a tough question. How long can taxpayers sustain the number and size of numerous social programs available to everyone who needs a handout? Judging by the belt tightening facing governments at all levels, the answer appears to be – not much longer. The time has come to cut holes in the social safety net.
To be quite clear, I am not suggesting we jettison those who genuinely need help to get through life. I have no desire to see society abandon those who are so mentally or physically incapacitated that they couldn’t exit a burning building if they were standing at the front door. But the truth is not everyone who receives taxpayer funded handouts is in genuine need. There are many who abuse the system. Step one in eliminating the abuse is to eliminate the thieves. Step two is reducing benefits to those who would actually be further ahead had we not blocked their path to self reliance with liberal compassion. A society that really cares about the individual will discourage dependency.
By now moaners and hand wringers alike are convinced I have no heart. Not so. In fact, my heart is likely bigger than those who claim to care about the have-nots. I do not view encouraging dependency as anything near compassionate. Rather, it is somewhat evil and self serving for those who champion larger and more ensnaring social benefit roles. Those who really care about society’s indigent would achieve great success by showing tough love, teaching accountability and allowing for consequence as a direct result of personal choice. That sounds more caring than a monthly check from a government computer that demands nothing in return for the handout.
Entitlement programs have existed for so long, have accomplished so little and have destroyed so many. Just visit a poor neighborhood in any city or town across the land. There you will find plenty of evidence to show the real heartbreak created by dependency.
The idea behind helping those in need is admirable and needs to be encouraged. The problem is the way we help. Governments, unlike churches for example, have no interest in reducing dependency roles. To do so would be to eliminate the need for those whose paycheck comes from working in these agencies.
The individual politician who constantly campaigns on more and larger taxpayer funded programs is looking only for votes and cares not a whit about the needy. That too is a form of abuse. It encourages the belief in entitlement and fosters a false sense of security. Anyone who relies on someone else for their survival will be in deep trouble when the free money runs out.
And that is the point. As the size and reach of government has risen, the cost of feeding the eight hundred pound gorilla has kept increasing. Now, as the economies of the world are crashing, as the number of unemployed continues to rise and, as inflation drives up the cost of consumer goods, we are facing a reality. There is not enough money in the treasury to continue carrying every soul who has their hand out. While not everyone receiving assistance is a scoundrel, searching out the scoundrels and tossing them aside is not unreasonable.
The solutions on the road to economic recovery are many and will often be painful. One of the first actions necessary is to tell our elected representatives, “NO! We will not be expanding the scope and size of government. We demand less spending and less social engineering.” There is no other way to ensure continued care for our poor and wounded.
Those who need and deserve our help are being hurt by those who game the system. It is time to get serious about our compassion.
The greatest favor that could be done for many who think they can’t make it without the government crutch would be to take away the crutch. It would be interesting to see how many miraculous healings would all of a sudden materialize.