Friday, June 5, 2009

On the Dole

On the Dole

I was sitting back today thinking about when and where I might have been on the government dole.  Where in my life have I received a hand out or a hand up from the government?  Student loans come to mind... but I am paying that back with interest.  Perhaps something I used or need was subsidized?  I can't think of it if it was.  So, other than student loans I have never used unemployment, food stamps, social security or any other government social program.  I am now becoming quite the rarity.  (Before we move on let me say I am a believer of "social safety nets" and find them wholly indispensable.)

According to recent reports (Particularly one from USA Today.) one of every six dollars in America is from the government.  That is $17,000 per person.  Food Stamps, Unemployment, Social Security, Medicare, etc are all on the rise.  Not just because more people need it, but also because less people are ashamed to use it.  I can't count the number of people I know that are scamming the system.  People who count themselves as "Republican" and "Conservative" as well.  On the dole when they could be working.  Sure, they tell themselves that they can't find work or are too injured to work, yet they some how are able to live normal lives with out a job, get around everyday and are mobile and productive?

I know it is hard not to want your $17,000 from the government.  Heck I can relate.  I have many things that $17,000 would go a long way toward accomplishing.  But, I also am a healthy person who was raised to think that one should always have a job, always be working.  My Grandfather is 90 years old and is still a State Farm Agent in Kershaw.  Not because he wants the paycheck... but because it is part of who he is.  A man, who works.  Things were not always so good for Granddaddy.  I remember him relating a story where his family lived for two weeks on a bushel of peaches that someone had given them.  That's it, just peaches. 

Times like that instill in a person the need for work, the importance of job security and of a man's reputation.  All of us at one time will fall on hard times and have to make tough decisions, even have to ask for and accept help.  But, with the charity of others comes responsibility to take only what you need, never what you want.  Also, the responsibility to pay ones own way as soon as you are able.  How can we as a national community or a local community accept that so many are taking government aid?  Why is that ok?  Why does it seems so much worse now that it once was?

The answer is quite clear to me.  It is the loss of two families.  The first family is the traditional family of a man and a woman.  This two-person team represents the best chance any of us have to grow up safe and with enough stability to become a contributing member of society rather than a consuming member of society.  The lack of these two-person teams has resulted in the need for a surrogate that must help us when times overwhelm.

The lack of the second family, the church, is also to blame.  Now this will be controversial but it is very true, the church is largely to blame for this.  By church I mean organized religion of any sect or denomination.  Churches have become too political both locally and nationally.  They are judgmental and quick to cast aspersions on those that do not or can not hide their short comings well enough to be accepted.  They continue to allow themselves to be ridiculed as unreasonable and affronts to history and science.  They judge others by the verse rather than by the Word.  This family used to be the social safety net that was looked to second before we looked to the government third.  If a family was on tough times the church came together and helped that family.  If things were too tough for the local church community to handle a larger community was asked to help. 

Now we invoke the THIRD tier of help as the first.  We ask not of ourselves and our family, not of our church or community but from the government.  What is more, we are increasingly asking help from the furthest removed form of government, the federal government that we have the least control over.  The government we are now expecting is called Socialism.  We are now, already Socialist.  We have abdicated our means of production over to the government.  We rely on our governments to provide for us from cradled to grave.  We have lost any expectation of help from ourselves and our more local community and are now relying on our least local governments to provide for us.  This way of comporting ourselves is completely unsustainable and will be our ruin if we don't take quick and corrective action.  

So, the next time you think "there aught to be a law" or that "someone should do something" or that "it's not my responsibility" think of who is waiting in the wings to take on that responsibility in a horribly inefficient way that has generational repercussions.  Think twice before handing over all of your rights and responsibilities to the government.

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