Thursday, October 30, 2008

I Really Mean It

I really, really mean it. If someone is willing to live on just a few hundred dollars a month, because they are lazy, I am totally willing to let them. I wouldn't live that way, would you? Very few would. We spend more dollars every year subsidizing the rich than we ever spend on the poor. When we eliminate the small number of those misusing the welfare system because they are lazy, who is left?
There are the less intelligent, And I know that Ramsam or any of you would not find my own personal son undeserving of care, but where do you draw the line? My boy's IQ is 51. Is 60 considered smart enough? How about 80? To be able to hold down a job and earn enough to live on their own. I sincerely doubt that 80 is enough to be able to do that. What about the mentally ill? How do you decide who can and can't work? If you are bi polar is it that you only have 2 manic episodes a year? How do they afford their medications if they keep getting fired twice a year? What about the schizophrenic? Who? When? Under what circumstances? Who decides that some should go hungry and homeless because they deserve it? In my own personal thought system, it isn't ever right, no matter why. The poor are us, and when my brother goes to bed hungry so do I. I know we can do this, reduce poverty and hunger. Each and every one of you, particularly those of you I have met in person, I know would not turn a hungry child from your door. On this we can agree. You might disagree on my view of how we can work on this, and I might disagree with yours. But I know you care, and I do too. If we all work on this, in our own ways, the poor will be fed.
I just think it is important for you to understand how and why I came to my viewpoint.

Here is some info for you, on the U.S. and other countries and their poor. Do not forget that the children account for a large amount of those in poverty in our country.

Social expenditures and child poverty—the U.S. is a noticeable outlier
All advanced industrialized countries make an effort to reduce the number of children who live in poverty, but poverty remains a harsh reality for many children in every country. Child poverty is defined as children living in households where income is less than 50% of household median income within each country. Although children bear no responsibility for living in poverty, they are penalized not only in childhood but later in life if their health or education suffers from a lack of resources.

All economies face the trade-off between how much money should be spent and what level of childhood poverty is acceptable. The data used in the figure below compare social economic expenditures and child poverty rates of the United States to that of 16 other rich, industrialized countries that, like the United States, belong to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The United States and these other countries face similar global conditions with respect to trade, investment, technology, the environment, and other factors that shape economic opportunities. Thus, this comparison provides a yardstick for gauging the commitment of the U.S. government to reducing child poverty and its lifelong effects.

You will have to click on the link to see the graph
Link to study that I forgot to mark

The figure clearly illustrates that those countries with higher social expenditures — as a percentage of gross domestic product, or GDP — have dramatically lower poverty rates among children. The blue line in the figure shows the correlation between expenditures and child poverty rates for all countries. Individually, the Nordic countries — Sweden, Norway, and Finland — stand out, with child poverty rates between 2.8% and 4.2%. The United States stands out as the country with the lowest expenditures and the highest child poverty rate — five times as much as the Nordics.

The paucity of social expenditures addressing high poverty rates in the United States is not due to a lack of resources — high per capita income and high productivity make it possible for the United States to afford much greater social welfare spending. Moreover, other OECD countries that spend more on both poverty reduction and family-friendly policies have done so while maintaining competitive rates of productivity and income growth.

10 Kids Who Want To Play:

TJ said...

I completly agree that we can do something about this.
(I couldn't see the link, but I might be doing something wrong.)

Jami said...

I missed the debate here, but I've caught it elsewhere. It's complicated. I've been on both sides of the debate and I still don't know the right way to go about helping the less-able.

I love your generosity of soul.

Whitney R said...

I feed the poor.

I give very GENEROUSLY in my fast offerings and I trust the church COMPLETELY to give that to those who need it most.

K J and the kids said...

hmm ! interesting comments so far.
I was hoping someone would jump on the mexican's taking over our healthcare and welfare system.
That's the one I love to fight.
Who cares what nationality or race. Children should NOT be hungry.

It's the people who spout off that they are Christ like that don't see how unChrist like it is to even argue over this.
What ever happened to....walk a mile in his shoes.

Thanks for the eye opening charts to back up your point.

elizasmom said...

I always feel like, "There but for the grace of god go I." I am profoundly aware that I am no better, morally, than a lot of people who are way worse off than me. I am just luckier. Luckier because I grew up in a family that prized education, luckier because I had information about and access to birth control, luckier because stupid stuff I did as a kid didn't turn out bad, etc. I know people who've done the same stuff, been in the same situation, and it's just dumb luck, some stupid twist of fate, that is the difference between me living my middle class life with my nice family in my nice house, and them wondering from day-to-day whether this is the day they end up losing their home. That's why I have a really hard time making blanket statements about how "they" just need to "do something" to help themselves — it feels like making a moral judgement I have no right to make.

Where to go from there is up for discussion, I guess, and while I am acknowledge that there are certainly many tacks to take in terms of HOW you provide help to the people who need it, I agree with you that a government that purports to be "for" the people has a responsibility to be part of that equation.

I give to charity, but I, individually, can only afford to do so much. I am glad there are programs out there with resources, with bigger buying power than just me, who can help people out beyond my capacities, both on a local charity level and a national one. Are they perfect? No. But I'm glad they are there. I think about the kids in Eliza's preschool — we're there because we're (cheap) liberals, but we could afford to stick her elsewhere. Her classmates? I guarantee you they do not have that choice, and some of those kids and their families are dealing with terrible obstacles and need the help we can give.

I'm paraphrasing here, the mayor of a nearby town once commented on a book that she had seen about how to pay no taxes that it should've been called, "how to pave your own roads, pay for your own crime investigations, teach your children, plow your streets, lay your own sewage pipes etc." (you get the idea). Anyway, I felt that she made a very good point, and that it is our job as citizens to be informed about what our leaders are doing with our money and protest, vote them out, whatever, if we are dissatisfied.

Kristina P. said...

Well aren't you fiesty tonight! :)

Stephen said...

It is why school lunch and breakfast programs are so important -- and keeping them available year around is important too.

I'm on the board of a children's medical center that provides health care to the children of the indigent. They are children. What more needs to be said?

If we do not care for those around us, who can we care for?

atlasien said...

Amen, Jo!

Amber said...

There are people out there though that have no church, no family, no neighbors or friends that are any better off then they are. They don't have a security net. I am not one to judge who is in need and who isn't- but I'm tired of hearing people who used every avenue they could while in school (because they were going to pay enough taxes one day to more then make up the difference) rant about those who are 'too lazy' to work. The same people who while using medicaid, WIC, subsidized housing and so forth bought new furniture and had cell phones and bought new cars and had their parents to pay for school. If you have a problem with the 'welfare queen' then you need to have a problem with the 'BYU Standard' as well.

Children should be fed, educated and kept healthy. You know, give everyone a fighting chance.

I commend those that pulled themselves higher then the standard that they were taught- but you have to admit that it's not always humanly possible to do so for every person on the planet.

Sorry for ranting so much, I'll stop or even rant on my own blog. ;)

Coach B. said...

I disagree with welfare in almost every aspect. My family is full of hard workers and the energy to get up every day and do what it takes to pay all of the bills and then some.

When my parents got divorced, the church gave her groceries for 3 months. That's as close as we ever got. If I want to dip into my pockets and give someone less fortunate a hand out...I'll do it. But it shouldn't be demanded of me.

I agree with programs to help out the handicap. But not those who are capable. I believe that the capable out number the truly needy by a lot more than is lead on in your blog.

But I still love you and your family!