I was taught in Sunday school that envy is one of the seven venial sins. I was also taught, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods," which is in the Ten Commandments. I was then taught that it was "godly" to share your abundance with the less fortunate. Hell, "A Christmas Carol" is based on these teachings. Yet the question is, "Who decides when someone has abundance?"
How much is too much? How high on the hog are you allowed to live before you are told it is too high? How many goodies does one need to own before others begin to envy? Who decides? Here in the United States and in New York, we are compelled by law—regardless of ability to pay—to finance safety nets for the less fortunate. Here in the United States and especially New York, we measure how caring and compassionate a politician is based on how much that politician demands one person give (monetarily) to another.
The problem becomes when the safety nets for those in need become nets for those in want. Somehow, the safety net that provided the poor with landlines has morphed into the government providing cell phones and free minutes for the poor. One needs the landline, but one wants a cell phone. Our politicians have blurred the lines between need and want.
When President Obama was justifying his change in Cuban policy, he said, "When you do something over and over again for 50 years and it doesn't work, it's time to try something new." In response, we have feckless politicians (is there any other kind?) standing and cheering: "Yes, yes!"
However, none of those feckless politicians dare say the same about the War on Poverty—ya know, that over the past 50 years trillions of dollars have been confiscated by the government and given to the needy, yet there is still the same amount of needy. Talk about failure! However, we are told that the policies of the War on Poverty are not failures. Oh no, ya see the War on Poverty and its trillions have failed because of rich people. Not enough of their money has been taken by the politicians. We are only a few more tax increases away from utopia. Duh!
Well, I don’t subscribe to that argument. The War on Poverty has created (intentionally?) a dependent class—a class of voters who can be depended upon to vote for whoever will give them more free stuff. (Hint, they vote for Democrats.) The War on Poverty has destroyed (intentionally?) the nuclear family. The black population has been utterly destroyed, thanks in large part to the liberal policies of the War on Poverty. Cities and families don’t just crumble on their own, but that’s for another day.
So, who has been the winner? Well, Uncle Sam and the Democrat Party. This dependency is passed on from one generation to another as is the voting preference. The dependent class, which is ever-growing, has zero motivation to succeed or to achieve anything as generations of people are now satisfied with simply existing.
After all the trillions spent in the War on Poverty, why hasn’t the number of needy individuals changed? Because we continue to change the definition of needy. Today, nationwide, an individual is eligible for Medicaid, welfare and food stamps if that individual makes $43,000.
Today, in New York, you qualify for government-paid child health care if you make $92,000. Is this about need or is it about want? A predictable result of this specific law is that many parents stopped paying the private childcare businesses and went with the state, which in turn hurt those private businesses. Ya see, this “government compassion” is often deadly, but that is something we in New York, for all of our supposed street smarts and intelligence, always fail to realize.
It is not just the "needy" that are affected. Look at the calmness over national unemployment. We are told it is under 6 percent, when in real terms, the U6 figure is 12 percent. Why is there not clamoring in the streets? There are many answers: extended unemployment, easier access to food stamps, Medicaid eligibility has been raised (George W. Bush did that) and housing continues to be subsidized (both parties take the blame here, but Democrats more so). That is just a few of the things that the middle class, not just the poor, can access. Basic needs are being met. People are dropping out of the work force not just because there are not enough jobs, but they have become complacent and have accepted simply existing.
(Wanna hear a stat that really depresses me? There are 50 million people collecting food stamps today, up from 21 million in 2008. While it makes me shake my head, it is a stat that often warms the hearts of liberals.)
If you believe in self-reliance and personal responsibility, you are an uncaring and selfish extremist as far as the political class is concerned. An employer—large or small—that does not provide entry-level wages high enough to feed a freaking family of four or more is called greedy. So, once the government forces the job creators (the government just hates job creators, doesn’t it?) to artificially increase wages, the price of goods and services rises because the job creator needs to offset the extra cost of the increased wages. So, back come the Obamas, Schumers and Warrens of the world to declare that job creator, a gouger!
We are told that by increasing these wages, people will be less reliant on the government services we pay for through our taxes and so our taxes will not increase. Only in fantasy land is that true. The minute those who depend on the votes of the dependent to keep power feel that people are becoming self-reliant, they raise the income eligibility for those services. Also, other than in fantasy land, where did any government program receive less money? Even when we are told there have been cuts to a specific program, the only thing cut was the rate of growth, not bottom line. How do you think our governor says New York has spent less, even though the budget has increased?
Nah, it is still a venial sin to be envious of the achievement of another and it is still a sin to covet thy neighbor’s goods. It is not compassionate to take another’s money by the force of law to in order to keep millions of people dependent upon you. There is no compassion in blurring the lines between need and want. A compassionate people (and we are) can fund people's needs, but there is not enough money out there to satisfy people's wants.
This is what I say. What say you?