Political Hokey-Pokey

America has been in a financial crisis for some time now.  And with dramatic cuts in spending necessary to stop the out-flow of money, some are concerned about which programs in the budget these cuts will come.  Many people are objecting to any cuts which may affect the poor citizens.  Much of the concern is due to proposed cuts in funding to Planned Parenthood.  What will poor women do if they do not have access to abortion?  What will the poor do if we cannot provide meals, or housing subsidies?  What will the poor adults in this country do?

I admit many of my opinions are controversial.  Perhaps it is my ability to remove my emotions from situations and look at the principles behind the ideas.  Before continuing, I think it may be necessary to assure my audience that I do in fact have compassion for others who may be worse off than I.  And I do what I can to help when I can.  Having said that, I refuse to view the adult poor as much of America sees the adult poor — as pets and children.  Let me explain.

Housing is perpetually subsidized through housing programs such as section 8.  Food is provided through programs such as food stamp initiatives.  Most schools are providing breakfast and lunch at no cost to the family. And an increasing number of schools provide food for the students during the summer, and some even provide dinner.    In my opinion, if you send your child to school with no breakfast, no lunch, no dinner, and also apply to have the school provide lunches during the summer, you have essentially admitted you are not fit to care for your child.  Perhaps the state should to step in and remove those children to place them with a family who will care for them.

A certain political mindset is at work here.  And that is: “The poor are unable to care for themselves and their children on their own, and so we must take care of them.”  A large part of this problem is there is no shame in being poor anymore.  Only a few decades ago people would avoid being seen on television in a welfare or food bank line.  But not anymore. People have no problem whatsoever talking to reporters about their “needs“.  There is political motivation to give as much no cost-to-the-poor subsidies as possible.  Keeping the public funds flowing helps secure votes.  Perpetual unemployment benefits, perpetual food programs, perpetual housing benefits, without the expectation of moving off those programs will motivate those individuals to vote for the person they believe will keep the money coming in.

Perhaps when we stop treating poor adults like pets and children who cannot fend for themselves, as if they are not competent enough to get work, food for themselves or their children, a place to live, etc. they will stop acting like pets and children.  When we tell them they can do nothing for themselves, that it’s not their fault, and that we must help them, that is how they will see themselves .  Being poor in America is far too comfortable and convenient.  The poor have cell phones, tvs, microwaves, computers, jewelry, and at more than $7 a pack many seem to have plenty of cigarettes.  The poor in almost any other nation would kill for an opportunity to be poor in America.

A generation ago people did whatever they had to in order to make ends meet.  There was a work ethic, and a sense of pride.  Job snobbery was minimal — work was work.  So what could change things?  Being poor needs to become uncomfortable again.  If people know the money will run out, their survival instinct may dust itself off and come to life.  Hard work and doing without builds character, self-respect, and dignity.  Just ask someone older than 65.  Using government programs as your primary source of income deprives you of all three.


  1. “Being poor in America is far too comfortable and convenient. The poor have cell phones, tvs, microwaves, computers, jewelry, and at more than $7 a pack many seem to have plenty of cigarettes. The poor in almost any other nation would kill for an opportunity to be poor in America.”

    Absolutely. We have created institutionalized poverty and entitlement. Even some Liberals see it. My daughters’ original ballet teacher – a gay man who is rather liberal – retired to New Orleans and was amazed by the post-Katrina reactions. In general, Hispanics worked to rebuild the city; healthy young blacks sat and watched and waited for help. His observations, not mine.

    If neighbors help neighbors then there is a built in accountability system. If your neighbor’s injury heals and he doesn’t want to help himself, then you stop helping. But the gov’t can’t make value judgments. I’m not saying there should be zero safety net. I’m saying the entitlement system needs to step back 20 paces. The Wisconsin union reactions are a perfect example.

  2. Surprisingly, I agree, generally with the sentiment. However, I think you tend to oversimplify a bit. Now, I can only speak about my personal experience and what I have observed growing up how I did just because I haven’t studied the subject matter extensively.

    Regarding the Planned Parenthood, abortions only account for about 3% of what they do. My mother used PP for yearly cancer screenings (that is, until she was able to get a job with the school district which provided medical insurance).

    On the overall state of being poor, I think one needs to consider the situation of many of the people who benefit from such social programs. While my family did not qualify for welfare (we were barely above the standard), we still struggled with many aspects and I didn’t eat much just so we could make ends meet. There is genuine problem with not being able to get jobs, right now, irrespective of work ethic. Luckily, my family was able to get jobs, but only because we can speak Spanish and our area requires that.

    Having said all that, I do agree with you that there seems to be a preponderance of sheer laziness of which people are seemingly proud. It’s, frankly, disgraceful. But we shouldn’t conflate those who are lazy and those who have a genuine need through no fault of their own.

    • “according to PPFA’s own March 2011 Planned Parenthood Services fact sheet, 332,278 abortions were performed on some of PPFA’s three million clients in the year ending June 30, 2009. This suggests that eleven percent of their clients had abortions in that year, not three percent. But the best measure of how important abortions are to PPFA’s bottom line is the fact that abortions produce at least 37 percent of PPFA revenues “by very conservative estimates.”

      Abby Johnson, former director of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, Texas and author of the new book Unplanned, confirms the key role abortion plays in Planned Parenthood’s services. She quotes her regional director as telling her to increase abortions at her clinic in order to “get her revenue up.” Only affiliate clinics that provided abortions were profitable. The director reminded Abby that “non-profit” is just “a tax status, not a business status.” Sure enough, when the Bryan clinic began offering RU-486 abortions every day, profits rose.” Via: American Thinker

      Maybe as a matter of pure technecallity abortion might be 3%, but Planned Parenthood is about abortion. But this wasn’t really about abortion per se, but rather the argument that abortions should be an entitlement because they may be unaffordable to some.

      I am not inclined to accept that there is a great number of people who are poor for “no reason of their own”. Being poor for the vast, vast majority of those who are is a direct result of bad life decisions. No one is forced to skip classes and not study and hang out with their friends instead. No one is forced to drop out of high school. Sure, the peer pressure to abandon educational opportunities may be greater in poorer settings, but then it boils down to a matter of the will.

      Let me give you an example. Lubbie Harper Jr. is a judge in CT. I used to work for him when I worked for the state. I used to talk to him in his chambers on court recesses. He is noted for his stiff sentences and low tolerance for any deviation from proper procedure. I have seen him rip into both lawyers and defendants who tried to play the “poor” card. Judge Harper grew up in the poorest of conditions and prided himself on his drive to get out of the life style. It’s all about personal drive to better yourself. He used to say no one is poor except by choice in this day and age, maybe 30-50 years ago you had an excuse, but not now.

  3. Lol I mean I agree with you. I don’t think the number of people who are in genuine need is as high as is perceived. For clarification, my family would never use their “lack of finances” as an excuse for anything (except, perhaps, when requesting monetary aide). I think the Hispanic culture, in general, has much more pride than to admit that we’re poor, let alone use it as some sort of justification. I agree with you that people have become dependent on social services, which is really a shame.

  4. I would add that the motivations to turn citizens into pets are based on power. The so called “welfare clause” in the constitution has been turned on its head for the purposes of giving to the government power that does not constitutionally belong to it. The founders were very suspicious of government and aimed at defanging it as much as possible in the constitution. James Madison had this to say:

    If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.

    How can a government that has taken upon itself the responsibility of caring for and feeding its citizens still constrain itself? Answer, it can’t. Men lusting for power will demagogue poverty and use it to beat down opposition as cold hearted and cruel while threatening that unless ever more power is handed over to them ever more people will starve in the streets.

    For a society to be free of the kinds of tyranny that looms ever nearer on the horizon it must have a true understanding of the condition of man; that is he must understand that men do not turn good and benevolent by being elected to political office. He must also be able to govern himself and accept the consequences of his actions. If these two things aren’t present, a free society is simply not possible. We today prove John Adams’ amazing insight into the condition of man, even a couple hundred years ago, when he said:

    “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.”

  5. rautakyy says:

    Here in Finland and other Nordic countries, we have free meals for all schoolchildren. We proudly call our countries the wellfare states. And many of us see the US as a sort of developing country. The finnish nation is explicitly proud of having a hard working culture. Yet, we do have unemployment. This is often due to the economical situation in the world. The same applies to US, though your bigger nation may make you a bit blind to the rest of the world and effect it has on your economy.

    The point of wellfare is not solely to provide for the poor. It is also to stop the general price of work from going down. Every man who gets salary, should be happy that the unemployed has some income. There is also the consumerism of home markets. If the poor of your country can not buy anything, the general standars of living start to decrease and your home markets will diminish. I hear there are people in the US who are struggling to pay rent though they are working double jobs. Is this true? It does not sound very inspiring. I also hear that two thirds of your homeles men are veterans. Is this true?

    Yes, poverty is sometimes a fault of the poor. Like when a businesman has a total banckrupcy and possibly a nervous breakdown on top of that. It is easy to resolve the poor are such, out of their own lack of initiative, but powerty is not removed by making their lives even more difficult. You said that the poor have cell phones (I do not know if you still regard those as luxury items in the US), but can you get a job, if you do not have a phone? If you loose your job should your cell phone be removed from you? By whom?

    You in the US have the most expensive military in the world. It is many times more expensive than any other, and it is the most expensive per capita and per taxpayer. It is inconsievable how much of your taxmoney goes straight to war efforts on other side of the globe. Your military supports the economical interrests of your biggest companies (that pay the election campaingns of your politicians) abroad, but does little to protect your citizens. In fact, your military expeditions cause hatred towards your nation around the globe. It is not a coincidence, that it is the American flag which is constantly burned on TV. Maybe you could afford to take care of your poverty, if you spend a little less on weapons.


  1. […] from the wrong angle.  They view the deficit as a revenue problem, when in actuality it is a spending problem.  There is too much money being spent on unnecessary entitlement programs.  For example, say I […]

  2. […] for the unfit parents to kick their habits might be removing the children from the home.  Not everyone is fit to care for children.  Foster parents would be arrested for allowing children to live in […]

  3. […] be seen on television looking for hand-outs.  Pride and dignity are a thing of the past.  Being poor is far too comfortable and socially […]

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