Jesus said: I was hungry and you didn’t give me food stamps…or something

The following clip is as sad as it is funny,

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Let me help Ed Shultz’s faith leader on this one.  It’s 2 Thessalonians 3:10 “For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.”

And to help Congressman Rangel, throughout the entire Bible as it pertains to the government’s interaction with and treatment of the poor, it is to ensure they are treated fairly in the courts.  The direction to care for and feed etc. are commands to individuals to do this.  This is the job of churches and individuals.

The liberal view of charitable giving is, “this is terrible, someone should do something”, while the conservative view is, “this is terrible, I’m going to do something”.   It is a fact that conservatives give more of their money and time to charity than do liberals.  They even donate more blood more often.

It seems the political left believes the best route to charitable giving is to take one person’s money from them via government under threat of punishment i.e., taxes, and give it to whom said government deems worthy i.e., qualifies for welfare.  The political right, on the other hand, supports earning your money and giving to those whom you see need it, cutting out the (expensive) middle man.

Taking my money without my consent and giving it to someone I don’t consent to it be given is stealing, just ask a first grader.

Government is not the answer to caring for the poor.  We are.  The church is.  If you believe more needs to be done then give more and do more.  Get involved in your community — start a fund.  Just please don’t expect me and others to accept your definition of who is truly needy and what it is they need.

Comments

  1. A) This isn’t nearly as cut and dry as the bible would lead the right to believe
    B) The Bible could possibly be not the right text/guidebook for such a complex set of socio economic issues.
    C) There are so many instances in which your money is being taken without “representation”, as to make your constant dismissal or berating of your fellow poor citizens seem trivial and special interest driven.

    Did anyone ask you to pay up to bail out the banking sector, to the tune of a trillion dollars? Or how about the rail road, and coal, and steel industries that are largely responsible for transforming America into a superpower? They couldn’t get their palms filled fast enough. Or the 100 billion a year that goes to big ag and ranching alone. The corporatocracy still can’t get their subsidies, grants, tax breaks and free land use, and free civil infrastructure fast enough.

    Does the social welfare system need to be re-vamped and constantly monitored for fraud yes. Is it “our” responsibility to help some of our fellow citizens, sometimes, to some extent? In my opinion, yes. In yours maybe less so, or no help at all from the public coffers.

    But the constant beating of this drum, whilst ignoring the continuous fiscal mechanisms that do nothing but show that this economy is the antithesis of a free market/capitalist delusion that the right appears to be addicted to, at least in heartwarming theory.

    18-1 John. That’s the rate that corporate welfare is stripping us of our monies via taxation without representation, versus social welfare.

  2. Nash

    Of course there are many issues that are diabolically problematic fiscally. I oppose spending by the government that isn’t directly related to the actual running of the government. But I think you would also agree that you consider some spending is more obscene morally and fiscally than others.

    • I suppose where we diverge is the quality and quantity of the “morally obscene.”

      I consider it morally and fiscally obscene to allow ranchers to graze their cattle for free or next to free on public lands. The abuse of power, and manipulation of the mechanisms held in the public trust that are massaged by lobbyists and lobbying groups with billions to spend propping up thei narrow interests at the expense of the tax payer is made even more obscene because it is the conservative right that publicly rails against such behavior, but most engages in this kind of practice.

  3. John,

    Well, you certainly can’t plant seeds or raise cattle anywhere you please. This isn’t the 1st Century anymore. Our current environment absolutely dictates that there be a solid safety net that only government is capable of providing.

    Nash,

    Stop mentioning corporate welfare. Don’t you remember? According to these guys, it’s never “defined.”

    • T

      You and I, and I think most people would agree that a safety net is a reasonable, compassionate, and morally responsible thing to have in place in a nation as prosperous as ours. What isn’t reasonable or morally proper is turning a safety net into a way of life. That is what I protest, and I find it repugnant the way the Political Left frames the issue.

  4. John,

    Under those terms, then I agree. It shouldn’t be a way of life. But Michigan put the cut off for welfare at 5 years. There’s been a cap on welfare benefits for a long time all over the country.

    • You’re right, there’s a cut off for some programs, the cash assistance I believe. But there are some programs which are perpetually available.

      • The most eye opening thing I ever learned in economics 103 was the mechanism that has allowed for the dollar to lose 40% of its value, while inflation continues unhindered.
        This is untenable. The population grows, the costs associated with everything from gas, oil, electricity, health care, education and taxes all increase in cost annually well beyond the rate of inflation……while wages have decreased more than they have increased. People make less money for doing even more work and those dollars they are paid are worth 40% less that they were 40 years ago.
        Untenable in every way. The class we call poor has quadrupled since 1968.

        The next aristocracy is here…….

        • Nash

          You mention that the class we call poor has quadrupled, how much of that is due to reclassification of what qualifies as poor?

          • Re-classification is tricky because several official and non-official entities have tried to re-define poor. It’s easier to do than many would lead us to believe. And their is a gradient within that classification. Using just dollar devaluation, inflation of necessities, family size, and zip code is a fairly straightforward way of determining who is poor and probably in need.

      • I don’t have a problem with Food Stamps being perpetually available. If you’re working a minimum wage job and paying your own bills, you need food stamps. And maybe forever, if you haven’t the capability to do anything else.

        • T

          You’re right, some people are captive to their skills and education. Many people are the hard working poor who need just that little bit to meet a true need. In my opinion, so long as fraud and misuse of food stamps is even at least attempted to be curtailed legitimately, I could see its perpetual availability being reasonable.

          I think my personal philosophy could be summed up by saying I’m ok with anyone who is truly needy should be helped. But truly needy in my opinion is someone who is either legitimately unable to provide for themselves through some medically prohibitive condition, or someone who is making a true attempt to work, or is working, or working toward educating themself for gainful employment. Someone who is earnestly trying to be responsible should not be told too bad. I just see too many people who could be doing a lot more than they are because the free money is readily available.

          • In that same vain John, a few years ago I almost started a somewhat pictorial blog entitled: The Poor People’s Chrome Rim and Gold Teeth Project.

            Of a more personal note, I am 25k underwater on a 75k house. We bought well within our means. I am waiting for the banks letter in the mail daily. No refinancing for us because we don’t qualify for HARP. Market mechanisms will drive us from this house of 7 years in the next 90 days. I lost a good job 22 months ago and can’t buy a new job in this market. Even the minimum wage stuff is snatched up by the teens and college grads. Other jobs I am over qualified for or too old, although they won’t explicitly ever say that. We have sold the bulk of our personal valuables for the last 9 months hoping for a change in the housing and job markets. Of course our taxes continue to go up! Not sure how. We have never been late or missed a payment on the house, I have two special needs kids, we have never needed or used anything from the public trust and I am faced with either living under a bridge, or on the wrong side of the tracks in the next few months. So after being continuously employed for 25+ years and using up our emergency funds……we are now in the same boat as millions of others. There is bizarrely nothing unique about our conundrum.

            The game is rigged……

  5. This is the classic divide between liberal statist and conservative individualist. Both sides pretty much agree we should help those in need, but neither side agrees about how to do it. Many conservatives think that it up to private enterprise and individuals to help. Many liberals think that it is the Government’s job. I personally think that it’s probably somewhere in the middle.

  6. Nash,

    I’m truly sorry to hear about your situation. Sounds like you’re getting bent right over.

    • It really is bizarre. Right on my street many of the homes are now Section 8 rentals. A consequence of the depression/recession. The owners couldn’t afford to live in their own homes anymore. This is a neighborhood that is lower blue collar and mostly veteran medical retirees. Which I suppose describes my wife and to some extent.
      I mean we can’t even sell our home unless I bring 25k to closing! We just have to walk away, and lose equity, and destroy our credit as a consequence.

      Just another family of four trying to avoid sleeping under a bridge.

      If the American dream is merely the result of hard work, and sticktuitivness, then I need more lube to soften the nightmar……errrrrr I mean dream.

      • Hardwork and sticktuitivness will work in the vast majority of cases. Of course there will be exceptions. I just think its unfair to try to make it sound as though most people are the exception (im not saying this is you Nash). The overwhelming majority of those who are in really bad financial decisions are there because of a series of poor life decisions.

        I was in a very similar situation as you about 5 years ago. It was a lot of luck that brought me out.

        Unrelated — T, your last comment was number 15,000

  7. John,

    How can you say that? How do you know that “an overwhelming majority” of the poor are that way by choice? Such an incredible statement requires at least a modicum of supporting evidence, I would think.

    These days, poverty is no longer confined to the ghettos or the government-housing that looms in the distance, lingering on “the other side of town.” It is now in our own backyards, in our own neighborhoods, and you, I think, should know it. You know how quickly things can change, especially when children are involved.

    Lastly, if Obama’s economy is as horrible as you say it is, well then, your statement is all the more absurd.

    • I say its the result of many many bad life choices

      • Don’t you kind of think that such a gross generalization across such an ever widening demographic is a little dishonest? I mean look at the army of people who in the last 5-10 years who are in need of some kind of help, who never needed it before. There parents didn’t need it etc. They played by the rules, no credit card debt, car paid off, student loans paid off, joined the military during a time of war, and then used their emergency savings and 401k to pay their mortgage and buy groceries. No health insurance coverage ever, and for all of their lives have never been a burden to the system. Now left holding an empty bag. To chalk us all up as having made bad life choices as the reason behind our sudden poverty, is frankly presumptuous, and inaccurate.
        I did and was doing exactly what my grandparents did….before the rules were changed and we all missed the memo.

        Are you saying that we should all have gotten degrees and jobs in different sectors? Or that our nest egg should have been bigger? No cable? No chrome rims, no jet skis, 1 vacation in the last 20 years.

        I mean we all get the obvious bad decisions of those who lease chrome rims at 30%+ or those who never went to school, or spent their 401k or emergency nest egg at the horse track, but there sure are a lot of us who seemingly did not make any such decision.

        Where what mistakes did I/we make?

        • See nash, you are putting words in my mouth. I didnt say everyone, I said most. There are plenty of exceptions. In fact, youre probably one of them. But to say most people are in a situation similar to yours is just not correct.

          • Not trying to put words into your mouth.

            The number of “poor” has doubled under obama by any legitimate measure the average is double. These are as reported by those same agencies and a number of news outlets are people new to being poor. Do you agree? I mean to think that after 5-6 years of recession that the lower middle class has been unaffected? Pew Social Trends put out a pretty objective and sickening report about 6 months ago. It would appear that around 50% of those being identified as poor have fallen from the middle class.

            So it appears that half of the total number of poor, around 110 million people, made good decisions until mechanisms on Wall St/banking industry etc pulled the rug out from under them.

  8. At the risk of offending those who are experiencing financial difficulties in their lives, I have to say that I also side with John on this issue. I, too, had run into problems and was out of work for over two years, with only short periods of part-time work during that period. But we did have a nest egg that sustained us and prevented a worse outcome.

    Before that period began, I had gotten involved with a mentor through Rob’t Kiyosoki’s organization. While my own lack of discipline for such things eventually made my time with her wasted to some extent, she did, upon reviewing my situation at the start, remarked that few people were as well off as I was, in terms of savings and level of debt we were then carrying. The thing is, until then, I didn’t think we were in good shape at all and only doing the bare minimum of work in this regard. As such, I was astounded to think that most people were worse off than I amongst those who would take the initiative to contact an organization like this. What, then, does this say about those who don’t or wouldn’t?

    The idea of choices taken or not taken is not to say that anyone is poor “by choice”, as if it was a conscious decision. (That would be Dan T) But choices are the reason those who are poor are indeed poor. This goes for those of us who thought we were doing things the right way (and for the most part, weren’t doing things terribly the wrong way). But, as Nash suggested, we missed the memo. Why is this? It is due to not taking more interest in current events to know that “the rules” were indeed changing and thus, so should have our financial game plans.

    But regardless, there are rules and behaviors employed by people who will never see poverty and how many of us employ them? For example, it is said that one should save up six months worth of living expenses to have as an emergency fund should one lose one’s job. How many actually do this? Most people have never tried to build up any kind of liquid fund from which they could draw in an emergency of any kind, like needing a new frig, much less covering that job loss. And we’ve been in a bad economic climate for how many years now, so how many put away enough for, as in my case, two years worth of expenses, seeing as how the rules have changed?

    Another rule of thumb is to put away ten percent off the top for the above reason and once a level of security is reached, continue to put away that amount for investing (one must learn how to invest and how many study such things? I’ve only done a cursory study myself). This isn’t ten percent off the top of the gross pay to put in a 401K or IRA, but additional money out of one’s take home and learn to live on the rest.

    But the fact is that even with these time tested rules and behaviors (as well as others), so many people, TOO many people either disregard, put off or somehow never heard of these practices. Of those that never heard of them, I would submit that it is likely they never took the time to seek out how to use the money they earn in a way that would lessen their likelihood of falling victim to extended economic hardship. In any case, the consequences suffered are the result of choices made or not made. This is not an indictment of the character of all people who find themselves in dire financial straights. It is simply the reality.

  9. Rebel Strike says:

    Government has the ability to provide a social safety net for all through a command economy. The USSR will back me up on this, right, comrades? Please tell those dumb old people who believe that charity is still the responsibility of the individual’s own choice. You can tell them the supremacy of your system. Comrades? Hello, Soviet Union, where are you? Oh, yeah, I forgot!

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