Guest Post: I am the poster-child for the Democrat’s economic model

Atticus is the author of the progressive-right political and lifestyle blog BlogTruth. His experience spans almost a decade providing business and consulting services to firms across the globe. Stop by his blog and say hello.

**I wrote this post about a year ago, but in light of recent conversations I wanted to share a little of my story with everyone here on John’s blog too.

When I was growing up there were months I would have went hungry had we not had food stamps. There were years our bills wouldn’t have been paid from month to month if it wasn’t for my Mother’s disability check. There were school years supplies were virtually out of the question and new clothes was something I didn’t even ask for. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go to school if it weren’t for public education and college was an option for me because the Government helped me pay for it via the Pell Grant.

Today I have a well paying job making well over six figures, no debt, I am an active member in the community, and I am among the most taxed – paying right back into the system of which I received so much. That, I believe, is exactly what the democrat’s economic model is built upon. I can’t deny it – I directly benefited and thrived from it.

On the other hand

On the other hand, some of my earliest memories of drug addicts trading food stamps for cash to buy a crack rock. The truth is for every guy like me there are 10 people abusing the system and never doing a thing with the opportunities presented to them. It is tax dollars gone to waste – a return on investment never realized.

For example, two of my cousins used their Pell Grant money on an elaborate combination of beer, drugs, clothes, nice cell phones, car payments, etc. and NEVER graduated college. Now they are unemployed/underemployed and getting even more tax breaks and payments from the Government. Even my Father has been living off of the benefits of the welfare system for 20 years and has never paid a dime in taxes. I am not proud of any of this.

When I was a kid I saw drug dealers, alcoholics, addicts, and criminals all benefit from the free programs provided by the Government. Free and reduced rent, free healthcare benefits which provided them with prescription drugs they would later sell for a profit, an the list goes on – all this which gives a person further incentive to continue their lifestyle. Why change when you are rewarded for bad behavior?

Conundrum

So what we have is a conundrum. On the one side we have innocent kids like me who are begging for a chance at success. On the other side we have people who are abusing the system and given incentive by the Government to keep abusing said system. What do we do?

I think what the democrat’s model fails to take into account is the folly of man. We are broken, people take advantage, people are generally self concerned, and thrive on incentive. Does this mean we give up on kids like me? Do we stop social programs because some people choose to abuse them?

The Solution 

I really wish I had one. Will I advocate to take away all social programs and to refuse help to other children who were born into the same situation as I was? Will I advocate to further make it impossible for a poor kid to have a level playing field? Should those born into wealthy and good families be the only ones who have an opportunity to succeed? Hell no!

What we need is a better system. A better vetting process. Less waste and a change of culture where neighbors and family hold each other accountable for their actions. We need a system where people realize what a great gift has been given to them by being born into America or any society in which being poor is not necessarily a life sentence of struggle. We need to encourage a culture that correctly uses the system in place and doesn’t break or abuse it.

Comments

  1. Again, it is all about lifestyle choices. You sought a way out and those others did not. You all had the same opportunities.

    • That’s not true necessarily. I was blessed with a certain amount of intelligence as well as being fortunate enough to have a favorable attitude and personality.

      I also had parents that gave me a lot of confidence and love.

      I think for people that aren’t granted some of the subtle advantages I was granted they would not make it. So it’s not all about choice – it is also a lot about circumstance.

      • I was also blessed with a certain amount of intelligence, but I think it is average – meaning most people have at LEAST the same intellectual capabilities I have.

        But how did you have a “favorable attitude and personality”? CHOICES. You could have chosen a poor attitude – I know I did when I was in school, especially the four years when it was just my dad, my brother, and me (divorce – mom got the 3 girls), and we lived in ramshackle apartments, a few months in campgrounds in a panel van, times living with his latest shack, and a couple years in the federal housing projects. I’m sure my personality wasn’t fun in those days, but I CHOSE to change my life. No confidence came from my parents and I was regularly bullied – especially when we lived in the gang neighborhoods; I got my butt beat on way too many occasions when I was unable to outrun them.

        Most circumstances can be risen above. All one has to do is make a choice.

  2. Atticus,
    I don’t think anyone is seriously advocating taking away the things that you utilized accomplish what you have. What, I think is being advocated is that there be reasonable control on the systems in place to minimize abuse. I would hope that you can agree that the difference in outcomes between you and the other examples you offered, is almost exclusively related to the choices you made as opposed to the choices others made.

    Right now, I have a family member who has been unemployed for around 5 years. While, the cause of the unemployment was beyond his control, his response wasn’t. There are numerous programs that are available for this family, yet they haven’t even applied. There are plenty of jobs available where they live, but there has been almost zero applications. There have been a couple of opportunities over the past 18 months, yet those jobs “just weren’t good enough”, to stick with. This is the kind of thing that people are getting at. For this family the opportunities are there on both sides. There are disability/food/health care programs that they have decided not to put forth the effort to apply for. There have been entry level jobs that have been quit in short order. In this case it is all about bad decision making and not about anyone preventing them from accessing some degree of stability and opportunity.

    Honestly, it’s sad to see, but they’ve so cut themselves off from almost everyone, that all ae can do is watch and pray.

  3. Atticus, You mention that you were the kid “begging for a chance at success”.

    How did you learn what success was? And what is your definition of success?

    • @C2C

      Hmmm…Good question. I played a lot of sports in school and was surrounded by mentors that put a lot of faith in me. I think that helped.

      Also, for all my parent’s faults they did show me a lot of love and instill in me a lot of confidence. I think that has lasted my entire life.

      People who aren’t granted those two things that were put in my situation probably would not have (and did not) made it.

  4. All good things for a kid.

    But, if a kid asked you, “What is success?”, what would you tell him?

    • @C2C

      That is a pretty complex answer – I can lay out a lot of examples of success, but I don’t think that is what success is.

      If I were to keep it simple, for a kid, and define success I think I would say something like:

      “Success is having a goal and accomplishing it. Doing that over and over again. And then being satisfied with the results.”

      But in reality I know there is more to it than that.

  5. I’d say that’s a pretty good definition.

    It’s good that people have good goals and accomplish them. More people should hear exactly that.

    I heard it this way: The continual achievement of worthwhile goals.

  6. Luck and “privilege” only get you so far. You still need to act when required.

  7. Atticus,

    Your family is proof that not everyone abuses social programs. Yet, the way some of these folks talk its as if there is a quintessential poor person. They lack initiative, a good attitude, and fuzzy socks – or whatever the hell else they’re saying.

    Does anyone else realize how utterly inane this conversation is becoming? There are so many possible reasons for poverty that it’s virtually impossible to generalize, and we certainly can’t use the comparatively few poor people in our lives as some type of representative sample.

    I give an example of one generalization that turned out to be completely false.Florida awhile ago passed a law that required everyone collecting welfare to pass a drug test. Conservatives figured they’d save money by kicking all those lowlifes off the system once they failed the test. Turns out, so few tested positive for drug use that it cost the state more money to conduct the tests than any savings! Yet more conservative speculation that turned out to be nonsense.

  8. There’s one generalization that must be made: If you do certain things, you are likely to be poor in America. If you avoid certain things, you can live a good and comfortable life.

  9. Conservative2Cents,

    I agree with you. But I note that you did not say, “If you avoid certain things, you ARE LIKELY to live a good and comfortable life.” Instead, you correctly said, “CAN LIVE.” And that’s true, if you do certain things, YOU CAN live a good life.

    But it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes, you can do all the right things and NOT live a good life. You can have a good attitude,initiative, and still end up poor.

  10. Terrance, let me correct myself. I meant to write “you are likely”. You just are.

  11. Conservative,

    No, you aren’t. Maybe in the old days but not anymore.

  12. @Everyone

    The system I described above could be vaguely described as a form of socialism – since the Government is redistributing the wealth and not leaving it up to the markets. Is that something you support when used in a productive way or should we slash taxes and let the market decide and rely on private donations only? Thoughts?

  13. I’d prefer that it be completely a private enterprise. But, IF it must be government, I’d prefer that it be completely by towns or counties.

    The problem is that when we see blatant abuse, we think “That’s my money being spent on drugs (or whatever)!”. Having it handled by people so far removed from us means that we have less and less control or even input. I’d prefer to be able to have more leverage over the people doling out the money.

    Private charity would be the best way to handle it, I think. Forced charity isn’t really charity, is it? If we were all free to either help or not help, I think more people would feel the need to help.

    I think I’m like most Americans. I want to help. But I want to choose how I help. And if the government sent me a letter saying “Your share of welfare WOULD HAVE BEEN $XXX.XX this year”, I would likely spend every bit of that amount and more on a charity I found to be the most helpful and discerning.

    • The problem I see is the segregation of wealth and culture.

      For example, if we I’d prefer leave funding “completely by towns or counties” as you suggest how would poor areas fund it? That means that the gap between rich and poor areas would continue to expand and poor areas could fund themselves. Wouldn’t it? So I doubt that would work very well.

      And leaving everything up to private charity – I don’t know if that would work or not. I don’t have a lot of faith in people though…maybe that’s a cynical view though.

      Even churches have to use the force of God to get their 10%…

      • The only “Churches” which make people feel guilty about not giving “10%” are churches mature Christians would avoid.

        I’d like to point out that God doesn’t require 10% from the Church. The 10% was a thing the Israelites had to provide; it was their tithe that went to the temple. But even then, they had other routine offerings they were required to provide, a lot of which went to support the Levites, because as the priestly tribe they didn’t have a routine source of income.

        Too many Christians have been brainwashed to think the tithe (which means “10%”) is required of them, but it “ain’t so.” 2 Cor 9:7 says “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Just before that he says that whoever sows generously will reap generously and vice versa. Mature Christians don’t need compulsion (which is unbiblical anyway) and give generously out of our worship for God, and to bring Him glory.

      • Good point. And not even that gets them their 10!

        I don’t know.

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