by ProfDave, ©2021 

Photo by Matt Reed on Unsplash

(Aug. 10, 2021) — Whether Mitt Romney had any real chance of unseating President Obama in 2012 or not, he made himself infamous in some quarters by commenting that too many of us were riding in the wagon and not enough of us were pulling it – 47 to 53%. Where this figure came from, and what it might be today, we do not know, but it is one of those things that make me go hmmmh.

Yes, I’m one of the 47% that’s receiving more tax money than I pay.  And I feel entitled to Social Security.  But the spin the liberal media put on whatever Romney said (I haven’t checked it out for myself) is just too convenient to the Democratic message.  The convenience and subsequent media behavior makes me wonder if he really said it at all – at least in that way.  While “blaming the victim” is a big no-no, it is a very bad thing that so many of us are getting government checks – just about all of us this year.  Should be 20-80, not 47-53.  There ought to be a better way to run the country – whether Romney (or Biden) knows it or not. 

Government has a legitimate role: restraining evil, protecting the weak, doing things that we can’t do for ourselves privately.  How much of “entitlement” is Social Security?  Looking-for-work unemployment?  “Safety-net” for the totally and legitimately handicapped?  Social Security could be considered a legitimate pension plan (is it as efficient as it could be?) and getting old or handicapped is not the government’s fault – or anybody else’s (though the inadequacy of my private pension may be).  Unemployment is supposed to be insurance to get you through a short hunt for a better job, right?  But not unrestricted bread and circuses.   We are all on the dole since Covid-19 – not even asking where the money comes from.  Dependency is another word for slavery.  Self-reliance is another word for freedom.

But poverty and unemployment are out of hand.  Does the government owe me a living?  I don’t think so.  In hard times everybody should help, but how, how much, and in what way is the question – and I should be the one responsible to do what I can.  Such as looking for work – as welfare reform once required.  Meanwhile, our immigration laws are criminalizing “the huddled masses, longing to be free” without keeping out the real criminals, whether their game is drugs, human trafficking, Marxism or radical Islam.  There are no easy answers; don’t let the politicians fool you.

“The poor you will have with you always,” Jesus said.  And we are to care for them.  But who said anything about the government?  Biblically, it is the family first, and then the church.  That’s why I live with my daughter and my church (with others) operates a food pantry.  “But he that will not work, should not eat.”  And of course, addiction makes you permanently unemployable.  So the trick is to provide a hand up – an opportunity – not a hand-out.  That’s where “entitlement” and “dependency” and “victimhood” become problems.  When I expect you to bail me out of the consequences of my poor choices and protect me from my responsibilities, you are enabling me, not helping me. 

Welfare can be habit-forming.  One of the worst effects is the tendency to release fathers from the responsibility of supporting their families – just about the strongest legitimate incentive to productivity.  Combined with the youth culture of recreational sex, this creates generations of fatherless children without responsible role models and single uneducated mothers doomed to poverty and hopelessness.  But even they can do something to improve their situation.  Our society does not cater to low income and uneducated, unskilled people.  We don’t have jobs for them, housing for them, or products for them.  Sex is not a good exchange for a high school diploma.  Abortion solves nothing.  Welfare is no substitute for opportunity.  But beyond that, it is a spiritual and moral problem.  We need to call upon a Higher Power to resist the siren song of drugs, inappropriate sex, and family irresponsibility.  Then we will have more taxpayers and fewer tax receivers.

But, sadly, no politician is going to do that for us.  Only moral regeneration can do that.

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