Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Government programs are fine, so long as they actually benefit society

    I really don't think it can be disputed that the welfare system as it was instituted during the Lyndon Johnson years has literally destroyed the fabric of certain segments of society.
    Since 1960 the white illegitimacy rate has jumped from two percent to more than 25 percent. The black illegitimacy rate has jumped from 15 percent to almost 75 percent.
    These numbers matter. I'm not saying we shouldn't have welfare, but clearly we need to find a way to create a safety net that also rewards instead of punishes moral and prudent behavior. Many of these people aren't getting married because if they get married they lose their benefits!
    I suppose all government spending for the common weal has a whiff of socialism about it, but the government has always had programs to help those who wanted to help themselves. In the 1800s it was the granting of homesteads. Later it was the G.I. Bill. Many businesses over the years have gotten their start with small business loans. There's a role for government to play in helping people, but too often the programs that are supposed to help end up harming society.
    Right now I'm off to that great bastion of socialism, the public library, where I plan to return a book my daughter checked out and get her another. As a government enterprise the library is about as socialistic an enterprise as there is, but most of us support our local libraries because they are available for everyone to use and they promote things which are good for society.
    That's what we need to look for in our government programs, and in most cases that's what we aren't getting.


Ignatius said...

Oh, Colonel. At the risk of sounding elitist, I'd like to remind you of something. There are many people in our society who are vulnerable. Sometimes it's physical. But it also comes in the form of intelligence. You are an extremely intelligent man. (Sometimes I think your intelligence *burdens* you.) There are many people of your intelligence, far above average. For every person of your intellectual stature, there is an equally opposite person with less-than-average intelligence. They make mistakes. A lot of them. They don't know who to listen to and they end up in trouble. We must sustain safety nets for them and accept that there will always be those who can't (or barely can) help themselves.

Col. Reb Sez said...


My post isn't saying we shouldn't have safety nets. My point is that we should look at how they operate. Too often you have to fail to get help. You have to be unmarried to get medical care for your children. (I'm not saying I'm for Obamacare, but clearly we need to offer the same free maternity care to every citizen, married or not, poor or not). We need to structure these programs so that they don't cause long-term harm. More later...

(Oh, and your intelligence is no doubt a burden on you, too!)