Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Poverty and Self Reliance

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Over the past month on my blog, I wrote an article that outlined the corruption and greed that occurred both before and after the Hurricanes in Louisianna. The point I arrived at later wasn't so much the corruption, but the underlying dependence on the government. As one of the several comments pointed out, there is corruption everywhere, to that I say true, sort of. But that statement in itself adds to my argument. Why would someone want to be reliant on something that we know to be corrupt? I also heard the argument about "the poor have no "chance" or "opportunity" to be anything but poor, to that I also had to recount my story, for those who are not familiar the short of it is, I grew up poor, and through hard work in my adulthood, I am no longer poor, so I know it is not an insurmountable obstacle. Along the way I also heard other excuses, all of which were just that, excuses.

I apologize for the meandering but my point is, why is it that we have set up in our society, a series of excuses set up like dominoes. It appears to me that we try really hard to keep these dominoes up rather than have one fall down only to reveal that we never needed the dominoes in the first place. Why do we perpetuate the myth that once you are poor you must stay poor? Staying poor in my opinion is the easy path, and from it you get what you put in. It is hard to pull yourself out from poverty, but I know first hand, that if you use welfare for it's original intent, which is as a TEMPORARY hand up for otherwise able bodied individuals, that it is possible to escape the bonds of poverty. I give people more credit than does the government; I know that people left to their own devices and given the chance, will better themselves.

There are two solutions to this problem as I see it, both of which can occur at the same time. We need to reform Welfare, it needs to be more of a training/ well-work program that does not penalize progress, but does have a time limit. Also we as a society need to be more generous to, and reliant on private charities. Believe me the government is not the most efficient charity in the world, and really shouldn't be used as such. I would rather put my tax dollars that are wasted on inefficient government programs and give that money to a more efficient private charity of my choice.

Most of all we need to encourage self-reliance, something that this country used to have in abundance but now is desperately lacking. I know having been there myself, with most of the excuses in hand; self-reliance is the most powerful tool in any "war on poverty" we could possibly hope to win.

Zaphriel Michaels of Zaphriel's Blog

It seemed like such a great idea. The Federal Government would help the poor, and provide a helping hand to the growing lower class, many of them black, many of them unwed mothers. The government would build housing for these people, and allow them to stay there at little or no cost. And the income given to these poor people would be based on the number of children in the home. From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

Some forty years later, we now have generations living in the same public housing. We even have a name for these places, The Projects. Not a place you go at night, or even in the daytime. The project of the Great Society failed, and we are still paying the price of that failure.

One of the many unintended consequences of this failure was the death of the traditional black family. With the government providing the funds, men weren't required except to provide the sperm for the next baby. After that, the black male was just another mouth to feed, and was more of a burden than a help. This created an underclass of black males with no purpose, nothing to fill their time. Crime and drug abuse was a natural outgrowth of this purposelessness.

With the government doing more and more, another casualty for blacks was the Church. Churches in the black community provided the glue, the stability that had held the African American culture together through slavery, reconstruction, and the Civil Rights movement. But, with more and more inner city families looking to the government to meet its material needs, the church became superfluous, in effect no longer relevant. Why look to God for your needs when the Federal government was providing your daily bread? And if you were depressed about your situation, the government provided a cadre of Social Workers to meet your needs, all taxpayer funded and devoid of religion, of course. After all, we wouldn't to mix Church and State, now would we?

A handout is seldom a hand up. For black America, the slavery of the 1860's was replaced in the 1960's by a different form of servitude, the servitude of the federally subsidized hand out. What slavery could never do in two hundred years, the Great Society welfare system did in forty years. It destroyed the fabric of black society by making both Fathers and Churches irrelevant, and seemingly unneeded.

Seemingly is the key word. For both are needed, as is purpose. When you remove gainful employment, you remove self reliance. When you remove self-reliance, you remove purpose. What you get are The Projects, and generations of servitude. Such is the high cost of the Welfare System.

Mark White of Liberty Just In Case

As I write this, the news just said that New Orleans was second in the U.S., It is a victim of a greedy upperhanded local government. No time limits? I disagree, it should be a progressive program that helps them climb up a ladder.

How many times can it be said that to give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, but teach them to fish and they will eat for life. What welfare should focus on is education. I'd rather see a welfare program train people for good jobs, than to just give out free money.

We do need to teach and encourage self reliance. Welfare is straight up abused, and it is in definite need of reform. The way it works now is that it keeps people dependent, and therefore in poverty...what it should do is help them out of it. But it all comes back to the person on the recieving end, and how much effort they put. If you give out free money, people will take, take, take, and they won't give back anything. The reform needs to be designed to encourage participation in society, and to give back to it as it also encourages self reliance.

I'd rather my tax dollars pay for tech schools, temporary daycare while they go to these schools, etc...than to be constant free handouts. Lets train them, and if they go off to be crack heads after this, or if they drop out of the program...they're on their own.

John (Jay) Stephenson of Stop the ACLU

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