News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion

December 12, 2012

READERS’ FORUM: Dec. 12, 2012

More to be said about ‘welfare’



After reading Reggie McConnell’s article about America being a welfare country, I would like to take an in-depth look at why. This is not a rebuttal, because I agree with him, I just feel there’s more to be said. What has brought about this welfare debacle, and how can we change it?

I partially covered why we’re in this welfare whirlpool in a previous article, and I don’t want to beat a dead horse, so forgive me if I re-plow this field. This womb-to-tomb fiasco has developed over the last 50 years and has many contributing factors. First and foremost is the loss of jobs, mostly in the manufacturing sector. Also the income, wealth and tax disparity that we’ve seen in the last 40 years.

Federal law dictates a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, but is higher in some states. But let’s say you worked at Walmart for at least 10 years, and you now make $10 an hour. The average wage in 1980 was $7 an hour. That was 32 years ago. The cost of living has escalated, and wages have stagnated.

We hear a lot of talk about entitlements, and some of today’s adults have that mindset. When I was a boy my parents supported me, but I was taught that when I became a man, that responsibility was no longer theirs. In the last 40 years, parents have failed to teach their children responsibility. Gramma and grandpa should not be raising their grandchildren. And the state and federal government should not be responsible for supporting that child.

While some welfare/entitlement programs are on the chopping block, some others aren’t. I’m referring to corporate welfare/entitlement programs that contribute to our welfare country, while armies of lobbyists fight for subsidies for Big Oil, who make billions in profits, and companies like GE and others pay little or no taxes, essential and valid programs like Planned Parenthood are under attack.

The welfare/entitlement programs cannot be purged or reduced unless they’re replaced with an alternative, and a reason to take responsibility for oneself. Voting no or filibustering jobs bills that would have, could have taken some off of the welfare rolls, is not an alternative.

Refusing to pass a tax cut for those making $250,000 a year or less, while at the same time fighting for tax breaks for the mega-wealthy, does not give anyone a reason to accept responsibility, it just discourages them. Reducing welfare and entitlement programs must be a shared solution. Everyone has to give some.

— Ron Hastings

Clinton

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