My Opinion

“Financial support given to people in need” – I just learned about the forgotten man (or woman)

The above is the definition of “welfare.”  I always thought the key words were “in need.”

In America today we seem to be expanding the definition of welfare although most people don’t recognize that fact.

The “financial support” we speak about comes from government, more specifically from other American taxpayers. In other words, average people.

By the 2016 definition every American must be in need. Is that the case?

img_0043Is America of the 21st century one where we trade our freedom for dependence on government and then we trade our vote to keep our “welfare?”  Think about all the “free” stuff we have been promised under the guise of fairness. College, health care, more time off from work, more Social Security.

Think of all the ways government attempts to do what we can’t do for ourselves. Even states think they must intervene to encourage Americans to save for retirement.

Do most Americans truly believe that it is right that somehow the other guy should pay more in taxes so they can live a better life?

Exactly where does individual responsibility end in the 21st century, assuming of course it actually begins?

Is it true that Americans can’t manage their own lives, can’t set appropriate spending priorities and need government programs to get by, programs financed by a growing debt or somebody elses taxes paid by fewer and fewer Americans?

Are we willing, indeed enthusiastic to stick it to others so we can have what we perceive we are entitled to; is that America?

In our quest to be like Scandinavian social democracies are we also willing to pay their tax rates including a 20-22% sales tax (VAT)? Is it just easier to accept socialism than to accept responsibility?

Social security was enacted in 1935 during the height of the Great Depression, a time of great hardship and need for many Americans, a time when 21% of the workforce were farmers. Today that is about 15% and interestingly one-third of farm acreage is planted for export (I digress).

Misinformation abounds😕

Misinformation abounds😕

Here we are eight-one years later and Social Security benefits represents about 39% of the income of the elderly. Among elderly Social Security beneficiaries, 53% of married couples and 74% of unmarried persons receive 50% or more of their income from Social. Twenty-two percent of married couples and about 47% of unmarried persons rely on Social Security for 90% or more of their income. Apparently many Americans didn’t get the message of what Social Security was all about and now they want more

In the quest to convince us we are entitled to more we hear about inequality. Thus we must all be made more equal, again by taking from others. This is also a convenient diversion from the failure of those in charge to create and sustain a robust economy which is the real and sustainable way to help all Americans.

The Forgotten Man

The for­got­ten man emerged in the 1880s in the lec­tures of a Yale pro­fes­sor named William Gra­ham Sum­ner. A Thomas Piketty in reverse, Sum­ner ab­horred ef­forts to equalize so­ci­ety and of­fered an el­e­gant equa­tion: “As soon as A ob­serves some­thing which seems to him to be wrong, from which X is suf­fer­ing, A talks it over with B, and A and B then pro­pose to get a law passed to rem­edy the evil and help X. Their law always pro­poses to de­termine what C shall do for X or, in the bet­ter case, what A, B and C shall do for X.”

“C” is the for­got­ten man, de­clared Sum­ner, a kind of every­man who falls into no category: “He works, he votes, gen­er­ally he prays—but he al­ways pays—yes, above all, he pays.”

Sum­ner, a clas­si­cal lib­eral, be­lieved that strong com­merce helped the poor bet­ter than the best gov­ern­ment ben­e­fit. “If you do any­thing for the For­got­ten Man, you must secure him his earn­ings and sav­ings, that is, you leg­is­late for the se­cu­rity of capital and for its free em­ploy­ment,” Sum­ner wrote.

Source: Commentary By Amity Shlaes, Wall Street Journal 7-26-16

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