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    News Center - Thread: Trump assaults food stamps

    1. #21
      Josiah's Avatar
      Josiah is offline Bronze Member
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      I don't have the answer here (I'm not even sure there IS a single answer)....


      We (as a society) have to balance two things....

      1. The immediate life needs of people. Obviously, we can't let people starve or freeze to death. NO MATTER WHY they are in a life-threatening situation, we need to help.

      2. We must not enable people, but empower people. A "hand up" not just a 'hand out.' "Give a man a fish and you've fed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you've fed him for life."

      Seems to me...

      1. Republicans have always stressed the second, Democats the first.

      2. Enabling people IMO is sinful and hurtful, it is harming people and perpetuating the problem. But it seems to be what we are doing.

      3. It's a LOT harder to give someone a hand up than a hand out, thus what we like to do is the hand out. It also makes them dependent on us and politicians look to this as a solid voting block that will keep electing them in order to keep the goodies coming.

      4. There are MANY reasons why a person might need help.... MANY of them very legit and no fault of their own. But (at the risk of offending), I think there is at times a clear case of irresponsibility and "short term" mentality. Where that is the case, a "help up" is HARD to do. Helping them UP - helping them actually solve their problem - always requires a high level of personal responsibility and perhaps temporary sacrifice for long term gain (school, for example). Some of the irresponsibility and the "short term" mindset is well entrenched, even culturally supported - and it can make it extremely difficult to help them and it can perpetuate via their kids (raised by them with this mentality and value). Breaking that cycle ain't easy.

      5. There are many examples of those who rose out of this. Many immigrants do this. In my church is a woman whose parents came to the US from Mexico with NOTHING, absolutely nothing.... little education, no ability in English..... But both parents worked - HARD - and they made sure all of their kids (and they had a LOT of them) did well in school (all of them graduated from college). She is a manager now and makes good money, owning a very nice house, raising her kids to be responsible, contributing people, and both of them are honor students in high school. It's the American way. I've witnessed a lot of people achieve "The American Dream" in one or two generations. But they wanted to. Again, I'm NOT saying this can always be done.... but I know it OFTEN is. For them..... I (as a conservative Republican) am willing to help in any way I can.... I'm all in favor of college scholarships for such, etc., etc., etc., etc.


      - Josiah

      Last edited by Josiah; 02-20-2018 at 10:36 AM.
      We are justified by works - just not our own.

    2. #22
      tango's Avatar
      tango is offline Bronze Member
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      You make many good points here Josiah... and it is depressingly predictable that those on the left seem to think the best solution is to throw ever-more money at a problem that isn't going away however much money is thrown at it, while those on the right seem to do little more than wish the nasty poor people would go away.

      It certainly does make more sense to teach a man to fish, although sometimes there may be an immediate need such that giving them a few fish while they learn is the only useful option. But, as you say, it is harmful to enable people such that they never learn to fish for themselves. Again, the left is prone to throw endless fish to anyone who asks while the right is prone to insist that people learn to fish, even if they don't have a fishing line, or a hook, or bait, or the faintest idea of how to catch a fish.

      I think part of the problem is the tendency to enable bad decisions even if for notionally moral reasons. One obvious example is the idea that "the children shouldn't suffer" just because Dad is a deadbeat who can't be bothered to work and Mum spends the entire welfare check on gin and cigarettes. And on the face of it, it makes sense to make sure the children are provided for even if the parents are total deadbeats. On the other hand that is an obvious way to create generational dependency on the welfare state, especially if the parents start teaching their children that there's no need to work because Nanny State will pay the bills.

      It's a problem that relates to turning every need into an amount of money that will notionally solve that need, and managing it at a high and distant level. Sometimes there is a short-term need that can only be met with an injection of hard cash but sometimes, as you say, things go deeper than that. Sometimes throwing someone a few crumbs ticks a box on an official survey somewhere without actually achieving anything of note. To give a simplistic example, if I recall the federal poverty level for a couple is something in the region of $20,000pa. So if a couple is making $19,800 they are "living in poverty" but giving them an extra $200 raises them above the magic level and therefore, on paper at least "lifts them out of poverty". Bingo - a sum so trivial it disappears in the rounding errors of the welfare budget solves poverty, for this family at least.

      When someone needs a form of education in order to be useful in the workplace there's a combination of factors. Firstly they need to be trained, and it makes little sense for Nanny State to simply hand out job-related training unless there's a job to be done at the end of it all. And it's hard to see an employer taking the time to train someone who may not even complete the training, or who may not stick around for long after receiving the training. Secondly, they need the inclination to get off their behinds and learn, and work.

      Sadly it's often difficult to differentiate between those who are truly seeking work and truly willing and wanting to work, from the people who simply can't be bothered. There's really no reason why the latter group should get anything in public assistance but it makes sense that the former group should have some assistance available while they recover from whatever event life threw at them.

      Scripturally speaking, Paul wrote that "if a man will not work, neither shall he eat". If someone can't be bothered to work, let him go hungry. On the other hand if someone is not able to work, or not able to find work, I'd say they fall under the category of "the least of these" that Jesus talked about.
      "Do what thou will shall be the whole of the law" - Aleister Crowley

      "If you love me, obey my commandments" - Jesus Christ

      The Bible comes as a complete package. If we want to pluck verses out of context so make them mean what we want them to mean, if we want to ignore the passages that are inconvenient to our outlook, we should be intellectually honest enough to throw our Bibles in the trash and admit we are following Crowley and not Christ.

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