President Trump has recently issued an executive order requesting eight different federal agencies to make recommendations about restrictions and work requirements to receive public assistance. Food stamps, Medicaid, housing programs, etc. could be affected if reforms are ever put in place. It’s difficult to imagine, but the departments of the Treasury, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Education all have some involvement in financial assistance. This in itself is a demonstration of how wide spread the tentacles of this giant octopus reach.
The order reads in part: “Since its inception, the welfare system has grown into a large bureaucracy that might be susceptible to measuring success by how many people are enrolled in a program rather than by how many have moved from poverty into financial independence.” The directive doesn’t set any new policies, but is only seeking solutions for a system that is clearly out of control. Those of us who live and work in the trenches could submit hours of personally observed testimony concerning abuses of taxpayers’ dollars.
When and if Congress ever has hearings on the subject the likelihood is great that those rendering opinions will be academic theorists who couldn’t show you where the meth houses are their communities, nor do they know the names and addresses of young women who keep popping out babies to increase the amount of their welfare checks. It’s not probable that they could name five individuals who are blatantly exploiting the disability scam, but some of us who operate in the real world are quite familiar with the underbelly of society. We actually know people who are third generation welfare recipients who do not view it as a necessity but as a chosen lifestyle.
I have never met a true Conservative who was opposed to helping those with legitimate needs or those who had fallen victim to circumstances beyond their control, but any time the government is handing out candy, there will always be plenty of people standing in line who already weigh 400 pounds. Consideration for the poor in mandated for the Believer: “He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor” (Proverbs 15:31). The first question that begs attention is --- what constitutes oppression? Maintaining people on the welfare reservation for the sake of Democratic votes is nothing but a slightly more sophisticated form of enslavement. The old T.V. sitcom “The Jeffersons” was popular not only because it was humorous, but Americans actually liked the idea of them working their way up to the Eastside. Stories that feature human endeavors which necessitate overcoming great obstacles or adversarial circumstances continue to capture the hearts and minds of the public. What is often overlooked is the incentive to triumph that motivated the disadvantaged in the first place.
Solomon indicated having mercy on the poor is tantamount to honouring God. No one has a better grasp of mercy’s definition than the Lord: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost..” (Titus 3:5). Salvation is obtained through God’s mercy and has nothing to do with the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule or religious observations. But once we have become the recipients of Heaven’s grace, God expects us to roll up our sleeves and go to work for Him, showing appreciation for His mercy: “If any man’s work abide which he hath build thereupon, he shall receive a reward” (I Corinthians 3:14). God does not reward welfare Christianity! The principle is far reaching; in God’s economy, beneficiaries are expected to reciprocate in a positive manner. Should society expect less?
We applaud Mr. Trump for his willingness to investigate individual welfare exploitation, but we wait for announcements to curb corporate handouts. The agricultural industry has benefited from federal tax dollars for decades. Some of us remember the old “land bank” days when farmers were paid to let land lay fallow. When the public begins to understand the insanity of it, the program is dissolved only to morph into a new one such as crop insurance. As opposed to private insurance companies that are in business to make a profit, the federal government can afford great losses because everyone knows the public treasury has boundless resources.
Moving from bad to worse, bailouts of auto manufacturing, failed wind energy companies, large Wall Street banks and a myriad of other corporate entities have all set the stage, conditioning Americans to a welfare mentality which is by simple definition: moving taxpayers’ dollars to individuals or businesses, usually requiring nothing in return except loyalty to the politicians who made it happen.
“And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing” (I Thessalonians 4:11,12).
Some folks’ living comes by how they work; others’ arrives by how they vote.