Thursday, April 1, 2010

the evils of the dole

a friend had the following quote as her status update on facebook last night:

"the test of our progress is not whether we add to the abundance of those who have much. it is whether we provide enough to those who have little." -- franklin d. roosevelt (big surprise)

i've been thinking a lot about this. i can totally appreciate the sentiment behind it and the compassionate feelings it probably stirs in this friend and others who think that way. it is well-intended, i have no doubt.

the problem is that, while i believe the opinion expressed in the quote may be somewhat true, roosevelt, and those who quote him, believe that the "we" spoken of is the government. yeah, i believe that we -- meaning we, as people, should be charitable and provide for those who do not have what they need . . . but only when they cannot (because of age or infirmity) provide it for themselves. i do not believe, and never will believe, that we should be compelled to do so by the government.

our government, with all its entitlements and doles, has created over many decades -- especially since the wonderful mr. roosevelt was at the helm -- a society where countless people have learned to work the system instead of actually going to work. those who do work hard to support themselves are penalized on their behalf every single day.

this is not providing in the Lord's way. if you don't believe me, there's a little book you can read called, providing in the Lord's way. it teaches very clearly that self-reliance is key and handouts are demeaning, even evil in many ways. again, for my liberal friends, let me repeat myself lest i be attacked as uncaring and mean (which i will be anyway) -- i firmly advocate assistance for those who truly need it. we all know people who, although they work as hard as they can, are unable to provide everything for their families or those who can't work for physical reasons. this is NOT what i'm referring to. the bulk of entitlements and government spending is wasted. i do not believe in redistrubution of wealth at all, under any of its various titles.

another flaw i see in the quote is roosevelt's mention of the role "we" play in adding to one's abundance . . . again, that's not the government's job to regulate. in our beautiful capitalistic system, a person is free to work hard and earn as much money as possible, and it's no one's business -- so long as everything he does is legal -- how rich he gets. we have become such a bunch of entitled whiners. where did we ever get the idea that we have a right to what belongs to someone else? oh yeah, from the government.

i get what my friend is asserting, i think. there are good, caring people all over this country who seem to feel this same way; like i said, i think it is well-intended, if misguided. let's be the kind of compassionate people who take care of the needy without the government forcing us to -- because, let's face it, when your money goes to the poor (and the not so poor) through the government's hands, they hold onto a great deal of it, and waste a great deal more.

you may have noticed it's been quite a while since my last post to this blog. that's because i had to take a break from the political scene. it was really stressing me out and even hurting my heart to watch what is going on. as i've said before, i am no longer making this a democrat versus republican thing. george w. bush made many mistakes, as did clinton and bush before him. and don't get me started on jimmy carter. the problem is we have allowed washington to become a place of corrupt people who are so far off course from the vision of the Framers that it would be unrecognizable to them. it happened little by little, and we have just let it happen. that being said, barack obama has upped the game exponentially, and i think people are finally starting to get fed up. i'm so tired of hearing libs say, "we sat quietly while george w. bush ruined the country. now it's our president's turn, and you have to be quiet." that kind of reasoning baffles me. so it's ok if obama ruins everything because, on principle, he's "your" president and you love him? i don't even know how to respond to that when i hear it. it's so beyond ridiculous.

i'm firmly behind the movement to unelect every politician in washington and start all over. i'm in favor of setting term limits for congress and in doing away with all the perks they have set up for themselves. if they are not accountable for their actions, which they are not, why wouldn't they become corrupted?

what do you think about this quote from roosevelt? what are your feelings on how we should deal with this age-old question?


Elizabeth said...

I still stand by it being a great and inspiring quote either way you look at it. I also know I wouldn't want to raise my children in a country that doesn't have a dole in place, scary and extremely sad. And I also believe the rich should be taxed more. Just like rich people pay more tithing and poor people pay less. And everyone enjoys the same benefits. Like going to a nice clean building even though it is located in a poorer community.
Of course I don't disagree with everything, I totally agree that self reliance should be taught, but still think help should be given while it is taught. And I didn't keep my mouth shut while Bush made mistakes as our president and I don't expect you to do so now. Another benefit of our countries freedom, we don't get thrown in jail for runnin' our mouths. And I don't believe our government to be without curruption and believe changes are needed.

Troy Tegeder said...

I just finished the book, "No Ordinary Time." It was over 500 pages about FDR and his wife during WWII. It was a great book and I learned a lot. I am very impressed with FDR in many ways. He was a great leader and did wonderful things for our country.

That being said, I absolutely, 100% agree with your post. It kills me that the government policies actually discourage self-reliance. We've even considered having Troy quit his job and live off welfare because we would be better off in many ways. We just couldn't live with ourselves.

Anyway, love your posts. Wish more people saw the world the way you do.

julie said...

i do not disagree that rich people should pay more in taxes; absolutely they should. but that tax money shouldn't just be given to poor people who don't want to work. it should support the government in the legitimate roles of protecting us from outside harm and a few other specific things as outlined in the Constitution.

thanks for your comments, girls. i love having spicy discussions!

julie said...

elizabeth, your suggestion about taxes being like tithing -- maybe you would support a flat tax, then? i think it would be great.

Becca said...

I love the Roosevelt quote coming from your perspective, Julie. I think for charity to be charity, it needs to be freely given, and not forced.

I'm confused about Elizabeth's logic in her comment about taxing the rich people more and how she likened it unto tithing. When I hear people make comments about having the rich pay more taxes, they usually mean having them pay a higher percentage of their income (e.g., the poorest pay 10%, the richest pay 35%). Specifically, they want to reverse Bush's tax cuts on the rich, and go back to having the top income bracket households pay 39.6%. This is not like tithing at all, which is a flat 10%, no matter how much you make. Yes, the rich pay more tithing DOLLARS than the poor, but all people regardless of income pay the same PERCENT of their income. If we are going to make the rich people pay even MORE tax dollars than they are paying now (let's say we go ahead and reverse the tax cut back to 39.6% of their income), AND make income taxes like tithing, we would have to start taxing the poor 39.6% too--which would be raising their taxes astronomically. I have a hard time believing that that is what Elizabeth means, as she doesn't seem to be in support of raising taxes on the poor, but that is the logic she gave. Unless she really is for cutting taxes for the rich and establishing a flat tax around the "poor" level of 10-15%.

Just a side note, my Family Money Management professor at BYU taught me in 2003 that 50-75% of all our income goes to pay some government tax or another. And yet, the government still wants more. Sickening, isn't it?

katherine said...

Hey Julie great post.

I believe everyone deserves compassion and kindness. I think it's ok for the government to cover some of the expenses for this (I'm not a believer in a Charles Dickens-esque America).

Unfortunately the government likes to pour red tape over every little thing. They hire people to interpret the red tape. They need facilities to house the red tape. They need workers to enforce and determine this and that. All before a person is actually given the help they need!

So much wasted money!
I live in Maryland where I see the wasted money all the time. It's one of the only places where I've lived where our paycheck is slashed to the point where it really hurts those with larger families to have that money taken away (that means us!). No wonder people here only have 1.5 children. I've considered not having more children because I don't see how we can live on our (actually quite nice) salary and still pay for more children (which is a sad dilemma and also a trial of faith).

To sum it up. Compassion is granted through much more personal ways. The government help is only a raft to help you get from one place to another. Some people choose to live on the raft. Sounds like a crappy existence to me. But that is why government isn't truly an answer.

All that being said, we still must show personal acts of compassion and love to those in need personally without the government forcing us to.

Governement spending more and scaring us into believing people are going to die with out recieving more government help is ludacrious.

We need to get more clear and concise with our government spending, so we at home can live the kind of "personal freedom and joy" we work hard for.

And so we can really help those in need with out that heaving feeling like we are being made to do it by the heavy hand of government.

Also everyone in America has the right to question the government. Maybe they should listen to those people instead of lobbyists and special intrest groups and then America wouldn't be so divided.

Julie said...

I agree with you Julie... Couldn't have been better put. I never ceased to be amazed at how much you and I think so much a like.

Messimoo said...

Ummmmm....for risk of being completely yelled at, here are my thoughts.......

Flat tax, you should not have a higher percentage if you make more, period.

The government should be set up like the Church. If you need help first turn to your family, then the Church, THEN the government. Not everyone has religious views, I realize this, so the government would need some type of system.....teach self-reliance. Teach people the meaning of hard work, obtaining an education, and providing for oneself. Don't give handouts like food stamps, so people can go and buy lobster, normal people cannot buy Lobster everyday (if you live in the mainland :) ) Teach people money management skills, teach them how to plan menus, teach them LIFE SKILLS. Being on public welfare their entire lives and doing nothing about it, is what upsets me.

I admit, we have been on WIC but it was to help us make ends meet when we needed it, and we got off as soon as we could. It was an "extra" rather than a necessity. I realize people NEED this help, but require something of them, even if it's service hours. Even in the Church, if you receive help, you are assigned service hours to "work off," the help. Free handouts do not help anybody, it makes others more reliant on something other than themselves.

Spend money on helping others become self-reliant rather than spending the money on teaching people to be reliant.

Do not even get me started on Obama! Bleh!

Messimoo said...

Oh yeah, I'm all about helping others, but don't make it so we can hardly support our own families. Stop putting people in front of me, who are on food stamps, buying foods I scrimp and save to buy because most my money goes to pay for their food. Sorry, just tired of seeing people on Food Stamps buying frozen entrees, seafood, pizzas, beer, soda, whatever they feel like. They can live with out it, others of us do, and not to mention all that junk adding to the obesity factor which adds to the medical bills going up, oh yeah, that I pay for!

julie said...

thanks for all these comments, girls. i love the discussion.