Handouts, help and harm
By Marilyn Snyder
Published in the Redlands Daily Facts, November 14, 2013
Those of us who can’t remember a time when we didn’t have a job are often perplexed by the amazing number of people who think that taking an entry-level job is demeaning.
Both my husband and I started working as pre-teens.
I picked asparagus for several hours before I went to school each day. I was 12.
My husband started by shining shoes, then, at 14, graduated to stock boy in a hardware store.
We always had at least one job, frequently two, and almost always went to school at the same time.
We were not the only ones.
In general those of us who have sweated through the perils of life recognize the personal benefits we accrued by overcoming life’s challenges.
Indeed most people think individuals should stand on their own two feet and make maximum effort to care for themselves and their families, not rely on others.
Government assistance was intended to be the fall-back plan, not the frontrunner, because it not only prevents initiative, but leads to generational and persistent poverty.
Many welfare recipients won’t take a low-level or parttime job because they would lose their welfare benefits. One reason: In 30 states, welfare pays more than a minimum wage job.
That’s the human dilemma.
Most of us want to help the downtrodden. Indeed we Americans are known as the most generous people on earth. We believe the old saying: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.
But feed him for too many days in a row and that man becomes dependent, not on himself, but on a handout.
Two problems emerge from this opportune assistance.
You start begrudging his dependence. He saw it as relief from his burdens. You saw it as a temporary fix until he achieved financial independence. Too often he found it extremely difficult to let go of the helping hand.
It is a given that being selfsufficient is better for individuals, their families, and society as a whole. It follows that being dependent on government agencies harms their survival skills education.
Thirty percent of America’s welfare recipients reside here in California.
That’s a tremendous financial burden for only 12 percent of the country’s population to shoulder. And it means that there is an entire segment of California’s population that isn’t learning survival skills — isn’t becoming stronger a citizenry for the future.
When the volume of dependents eating at the trough outnumber those who are coerced through taxes to fill the trough, a rampart of resentment builds up — especially at an over-generous and seemingly blind government.
Think about the fiscal absurdity of our government advertising in Mexico that they can get free food stamps when they come here … to join the 46 million currently getting food stamps. And then has to borrow from an unfriendly country to pay for the program.
Resentment at this outrageous irresponsibility grows exponentially with each new welfare scandal.
When I typed social workers’ reports for the welfare department, I saw the truly needy, but I also saw the scammers, cheats and frauds.
Today welfare recipients can use the California EBT card (electronic benefit transfer) in Las Vegas and Disneyworld, on cruise ships and in gambling casinos. The California EBT website says: “You can use your EBT card at any store or ATM that displays the Quest mark in California and throughout the United States.”
How generous! How convenient! How open to fraud!
Resentment is “the feeling of indignation at acts that cause injury.”
Our governmental cultivation of dependence is causing grave injury to both the new dependents they acquire and the good citizens paying the tax bill.
Add up the taxes on your pay stub.
Wouldn’t you like to lessen that? What would you buy? How much could you put in savings for your old age? Would you donate more at church or to victims of a catastrophe?
Our well-documented American compassion in the form of welfare is a fiscal responsibility nightmare, which may ultimately lead to our country’s financial downfall.
The United States, and our debt and deficit, would improve dramatically if there were fewer dependents and more citizens able to proudly call themselves hard-working Americans.