Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Welfare State

In a comment on my latest blog What is General Welfare, the question was asked of me:
" you think that we should do away with programs like Food Stamps or WIC? Don't you think that we, collectively through the government, have a moral obligation to help those in need?"
The question was asked by my good friend Dave so I know his intentions are honorable.

He even put up his own post on his blog titled A Moral Responsibility.

His argument states entitlement programs should not be done away with completely because as he states:
"It is my belief that one of the core functions of the government is providing a safety net for the citizenry. This is done through labor laws, anti-trust/anti-monopoly laws, and through welfare programs."
I both agree and disagree with Dave's statement here.

I agree that it is the core responsibility to provide a safety net for its citizens. But not in the manner of which he is referring to. I believe it is the job of the federal government to keep our citizens safe. Safe from invasion though. Not from circumstance.

Another point in his post that I agree with is that we, as a people, do in fact have a moral obligation to help out those that are poor and needy. However, I think this is a moral obligation of the people of the United States, not the government of the United States.

Today's liberals (and I am in no way trying to lump Dave into this group) believe that the government should not legislate morality. In essence, it seems to me that these entitlement programs are in fact legislating morality.

If the left (again just a generalization here, not trying to point figures at any specific person) wants to claim that it is a moral obligation of the government to provide for those that are less fortunate, than they must also agree that it is okay to legislate morality in other ways. They can't take one without the other.

I do not believe that any government program is going to provide any long-lasting permanent relief of poverty.

Personally, I think that while the intentions of past Presidents like Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson in their creation of some of these entitlement programs was very noble, I think that, especially in the case of FDR, these programs should have been temporary solutions, not permanent entitlements that have spread from generation to generation.

And in my opinion, if you want to get really literal about it, these programs are unconstitutional. Creating these programs does not fall under the responsibility of the federal governments according to our Constitution. That was the whole point of my last post.

The point I was making is that many people think that providing for our 'general welfare' actually means to provide for welfare as the term means today when in fact, they were just referring to the general well-being, the safety of our people.

It is the job of the government to ensure that the people of the United States have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is not the job of the federal government to guarantee happiness.

As I mentioned in that last post of mine, it is the job of the federal government to protect our citizens and our borders, and to collect taxes in order to provide those functions efficiently.

History has shown us that, in the past, the federal government has been very efficient in these areas. For instance, until 2001, no foreign power has ever invaded our country since Pearl Harbor. And before that since the War of 1812. Our government has a pretty good track record of keeping us free from invasion.

The areas that they have been found lacking in efficiency are those areas that they had no business getting involved with in the first place.

Welfare. Its intended purpose is a failure. It only provides temporary relief and provides no incentive for people to own up to personal accountability and pick themselves back up. Welfare only serves to make its recipients more dependent on the government and makes them less apt to go to work and get themselves off the program. In my opinion, this program only makes people more dependent on the program so that they are easier to control. Which is why I think that many of the power-hungry politicians want to not only keep welfare going but expand it.

Social Security. In shambles. It is a program that is going bankrupt.

Medicare. Also going bankrupt. However, I will give Medicare one thing. It has succeeded in one thing. Contributing to the rising costs of medical care. Although I don't think that was one of its original intentions.

Another example of the inefficiency and failure of government involvement in recent years: Years ago, the housing market was having some trouble, so the government got involved by chartering the Federal National Mortgage Association, also known as Fannie Mae. Well, we all know how well that turned out.

The brutal fact of the matter is that the federal government does not make a person's life better by trying to do things they were never intended to do.

The federal government quite simply should stick to doing what we know it can do effectively. Protect our country.

The federal government should no longer be allowed to continue to follow the path that has unfortunately turned our country into what it is now.

A welfare state.


  1. I’ve been debating responding to this (and the previous post) for a few days now. I’m not going to go into great detail but suffice it to say, if these programs were discontinued then millions of families across this country would be completely screwed. Mine included. I don’t support these programs because they help my family, I have always supported them. Yes they need reform, that is a give, but doing away with them completely would be a terrible idea.

  2. Well to be perfectly honest Dave, I don't believe that our country is at a station where these programs can be cutting them completely out.

    I think reform is the first answer.

    After some time when the reform is working, there is a possibility that we can eventually "ween" people off of the system.

    It is not going to happen in a day, or a year even. In fact, we might not see the end of welfare as we know it for at least a decade.

    The main reason I am writing about this stuff is to try and open people's eyes to the problem.

    I am not necessarily saying, Mr/Mrs Elected Offical. End welfare and all social services right now.