Society's Lowest Common Denominator
One of the most divisive and intractable problems we face in the U.S. is the growing poverty in our society. More people are connected to the governmental umbilical cord than ever in history, and there are complaints emanating from all the usual sources that the wealthy segment of our society doesn’t pay enough for the privilege of their wealth. I look at this from a completely different perspective, based in reality, and not in some grand socialistic dream about the good in humanity. I know that humans are fallible and imperfect, and easily fall into a destitution of spirit even more readily than they do into a poverty of material things. Encouraged to do so, many people are more than willing to live from the efforts of others and to subsist without reference to their own sloth.
I realize that what I am going to tell you will cause many to hurl derision in my direction, but it’s time that we tell the truth about who the real free-riders in our society have been. Our country cannot thrive so long as the free-riders of whom we ask exactly nothing can collect by virtue of their unwillingness to contribute anything. Our “welfare” system is becoming the largest segment of a rapidly growing government that rests not on a poverty of material things it provides, but on the grotesque destitution of spirit of those among those who these programs were intended to assist.
First, I’d like to address the question of entitlement programs, and differentiate among them on the following basis: Social Security, a program I think has thoroughly impossible problems, has been promised on the basis of individual contributions over a lifetime of work. While it is clear that some substantial reform is necessary, and many have been misled about the nature of the program, it is not the program I wish to discuss. Instead, I’d prefer to focus on the massive programs for which there is no connection between benefits paid and the manner in which they are funded. This includes the myriad programs that fall into the category widely regarded as “welfare,” and includes everything from public housing to Medicaid, among the more well-known, but includes also Pell Grants and Home Energy Assistance, and extends now even to Internet Service and Cellular Phones.
Over the last number of days, I’ve been verbally hammered via email and on the phone by those who have become disheartened at the things they now witness in their daily lives. It’s not merely that these programs exist, or that they now provide every imaginable need, but that the recipients no longer appreciate them as a gift of a generous society. Instead, they now view these benefits as a primary means of existence, and a right to which they are entitled to exercise. Imagine subsisting in the belief that society owes you a living, based on no more exhaustive claim but for your existence. It is to say “I’m here, so pay for me.” If this seems stunning to some Americans who are less familiar with this sub-culture of economic dependency and moral depravity, it shouldn’t. We have allowed our politicians to create a system in which they are rewarded with votes by providing material goods to people who produce nothing, owe nothing, and more, are being conditioned to believe that they possess an endless right to the wealth of those who produce the wealth of the nation.
Ladies and gentlemen, there can be no doubt that by permitting government to become the great dispenser of benefits, we have built a monster that has taken on a life and a force from which we may not escape. We have such stellar intellectuals as Elizabeth Warren, a candidate for Senate in Massachusetts, and a former Obama White House flunky, who tells us a few things that ought to disqualify her from any office anywhere on the planet:
“I hear all this, you know, ‘Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever.’ No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody.”
Do you understand her claim? She is saying that society enables people to become rich. This is a lie. If society enables people to become rich, why aren’t we all rich? Why? What’s the difference between one person’s wealth and another person’s poverty? She doesn’t explain that, but she does continue to make absurd statements that reveal her poverty of understanding of both economics and human nature:
“You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did.”
This bizarre and reckless politician is telling you that the roads came first. She is plainly asserting that roadways came before commerce. They did not. Commerce was the reason the roads were built, and the people who were engaged in that commerce are the ones who built the roads. If there was nothing to protect, we would not need police. This asinine would-be Senator actually believes that “the rest of us paid for” all of these things. She is lying. Find for me the total number of dollars paid for any roadway by those who do nothing but take from this system?
“Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless — keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”
This is pure sophistry. There is no instance in which her narrative is true. We cannot afford any more of this notion. The people who have paid for those products are most frequently the people who had a hand in producing them. This is a serious problem. She is an advocate for free-riders who actually insists on bolstering the notion that free-riders are the great virtue in our system who somehow provide the ability of the rich to become richer, while nevertheless providing exactly and precisely nothing.
This must stop. We must begin to strip such power from politicians. We must challenge this nonsense at ever turn. We must begin to say “No” and mean it, not merely to these politicians, but also to the people who have become dependent upon them. It simply ludicrous to suggest that the infrastructure depends on the payments of people who don’t pay, while people who do pay are compelled at gunpoint to build and provide it.
We have a real problem, and this insufferable leftist demonstrates it quite well: The poverty we face is in intellect, philosophy, and spirit, and we can no longer afford the luxury of all of these programs. We must end the welfare state before it ends us. With each day it continues, it increases its own numbers as more people give up the will to earn their existence as they find themselves increasingly surrounded by those who will not.