No, I don’t “Like” this post at all…

The Heritage Foundation posted a graph on its Facebook site, showing purported growth in government spending on welfare between 1964 and 2011:

Predictably, the post has received 1,600+ “Likes” and 200 or so comments, most of them on the order of my “zoo” comments of Friday.  But while it’s easy to say that the poor are being given too much, I’ll admit it’s hard to pinpoint where or how to cut back without punishing the people who most deserve help:  the infants and children who cannot help themselves.

It’s interesting to read the talkback from liberals who say it’s “lunacy”  to try to compare 1964 spending to today.  ‘Our population is several times greater, cost of living is higher, average wage is higher, etc’…which is true, but beside the point.  The graph, if I understand it correctly, is an ironic picture of several generations’ worth of “war on welfare” intending to cut spending on benefits to the poor.  We can see how well that has worked out.  But I’m not so much concerned with the big picture from the last 50 years.  We can argue all day about “inflation-adjusted dollars” and what that really means.

No, the alarm bells went off for me when I went to the U.S. Government Spending website and found that spending on welfare to families and children (mainly nutrition supplements like food stamps, WIC and school lunch programs, as far as I can tell) has more than DOUBLED in the past four years, from $60.7 billion to 113.5 billion.   How is that possible?  Does that mean that the cost of food has doubled?  That the number of people receiving assistance has doubled? More likely, it’s safe to say that more people are needing help and food costs more…

Still, the mind boggles at the thought of further increases in welfare spending.  Looking at this chart, I wonder:  how many people begin to receive assistance and simply never stop?   And why is that?  Could it have anything to do with the fact that 41% of babies born in 2009 were to unmarried women?   How about this statistic:  “In 2010, 9.9 million single moms were living with kids under 18 in the United States, up from 3.4 million in 1970.”

I could rant predictably about the decline in morals, and the cultural climate which has made it normal to have a baby if you want to, regardless of whether there are two parents committed to raising it to adulthood.  But the fact is self-evident that while the population of our country has doubled since 1970, the number of single moms has tripled.  What once was embarrassing at best, severely stigmatized at worst, is now common and acceptable, and–more significantly–practical.  The government’s willingness to support single mothers and their children has made it possible for any woman who feels like it to have a baby and raise it without the necessity of a partner who supports or helps to support her.  Instead of rewarding stable family units who are self-sufficient, and who raise statistically healthier, happier and less troubled kids, it seems that the prize goes to the unambitious young high school drop-out who has learned to bilk the system and is content to live from hand to mouth indefinitely.

Of course we do not want to live in a society which does not show care and concern for innocent children.  And  since the moral pendulum has swung so wildly to the left…I fear it will require more that Solomon’s wisdom to find a solution to our skyrocketing welfare costs which rewards responsibility and hard work, without penalizing infants and children who had no say in the matter.

I don’t think I can criticize the failed welfare reforms unless I have a better idea of how to cut such spending without endangering children.  It seems to me that this is a matter for prayer.

7 responses to “No, I don’t “Like” this post at all…

  1. livinrightinpgh

    Yeah, I get it…..welfare reform = starving the children. But, let’s look at the opposite side of this coin. Given: there are those who are truly in need. My gripe is with the “industry” that has been created where children are conceived, and born JUST to add to the household income. It just so happens that I owned an inner-city business in the mid to late 90’s, and I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count all of the incidents I saw where young women were having MULTIPLE children out of wedlock, and getting a substantial check per month, section 8 housing, relief on utilities, and $1,400 on an “Access” card (which BTW could be used in any MAC machine in the area to draw out CASH, which was invariable spent on booze and cigarettes. One young lady in particular, was 24 years old, and had 4, yes FOUR children. Just doing some quick math, you would find that she had the equivalent of a $75,000 per year job. In case you’re curious, her children were completely neglected, BY HER, with poor personal hygiene, dental problems, and watched their mom get drunk and stoned 7 days a week, ALL on the money she got from her new husband and her babies’ daddy – Mr. Gubmint.

    Just a few simple thoughts to be sure that those TRULY in need have the funds available to “help” them UNTIL they can stand on their own:

    1. Mandatory birth control if you’re on welfare.
    2. Go after the father’s of these illegitimate kids for support.
    3. Mandatory (and random) drug testing for all welfare recipients.
    4. Tighter controls on those foods and “other” items that can be purchased with the ACCESS card.
    5. Complete removal from the welfare roster for anyone caught selling their Access card.
    6. Outlaw smoking for welfare recipients. Hey, if you’re THAT poor, you shouldn’t be spending $60 on a carton of Marlboros, and, since we ALL know the dangers of smoking, we can’t have these folks adding to the cost of healthcare.

    I could go on ad nauseum with this list, but you get the point. The government, going back to day one, has employed these means of “support”, although one could argue that it was done for VOTES and NOT out of compassion. Cradle to grave welfare is the ugliest form of enslavement.

    Too harsh? Then maybe it’s time to GROW UP!

    • You’re just tellin’ the often unpleasant truth, PGH.

      When someone has in effect sold their freedom for a Big Screen TV, they have turned their back on their self-resepct, their God, and society at large. They’ve had help getting there, though.

      That “help” has been dressed up as being caring, but that is the last thing that is happening. This all ties back to GBL’s “Zoo” post from Saturday: get ’em hooked, keep ’em hooked. Then occasionally stir up their fear that someone wants to take away their meal ticket. It’s worse than being a drug addict.

      Check out this article from a couple years back in the NYTimes. It’s enough to turn your stomach, and it is most definitely being done on purpose.

      “Applying for food stamps is easier than ever,” city posters say.

      The same is true nationwide. After a U-turn in the politics of poverty, food stamps, a program once scorned as “welfare,” enjoys broad new support. Following deep cuts in the 1990s, Congress reversed course to expand eligibility, cut red tape and burnish the program’s image, with a special effort to enroll the working poor. These changes, combined with soaring unemployment, have pushed enrollment to record highs, with one in eight Americans now getting aid.

  2. godsbooklover

    You’ve got some great suggestions there, PGH. However, it struck me as I wrote this that we’ve created a governmental hydra…not for the first time. How do you fight Big Government without inadvertently creating more? All of those “mandatories” you list will create even more bureaucracy, red tape, and invasion of privacy. I don’t disagree that all of those things would be wise…but implementing them without making things worse in the long run is what needs Solomon’s wisdom. And our government ain’t got it.

    • livinrightinpgh

      GBL…your point is well made, and noted.

      Still, as long as we have social programs, we will have government oversight. The welfare offices already exist. The courts already go after “dead-beat” dads and moms.

      I am no fan of more bureaucracy, but I’m even more adamantly against this unchecked, unbridled, giving away of the working class’ tax dollars. Personally, I believe a better system of checks and balances would reduce the welfare roster dramatically.

      BTW: where does the right to “privacy” exist in the Constitution?

    • Have to agree, GBL.

      I’ve written about it so many times, I may be repeating myself by now. Government (and especially the Feds) continually fixes problems that it makes with more solutions, which require more fixes. It is self-propagating.

      The only real solution is to get them out of it altogether and let the control reside as closely to the problem as possible. In this case that would be the parents, teachers and school administrators.

      Nothing is perfect, but I dare say you will have fewer screw-ups of this magnitude THAT way than you will otherwise.

  3. I like this post a good deal.

    and commend you for seeing a problem and refusing to endorse a simplistic answer and instead considering the simplistic and false solution in terms of the human cost that would be exacted on those who are in need of the help…and possibly on those who meanly would deny that help.

  4. Pingback: Welfare Reform…a tiny first step « Two Heads are Better Than One

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