Dear Conservative Friends, Hear My Plea: We Can Do Better
The following makes an excellent case for the morality of much-maligned social programs, and how - contrary to typical Tea Party rhetoric - those social programs honor the values of America’s founding fathers. There’s far too much good stuff for me to quote in one page, so please read the whole thing - I’ve pasted the first few paragraphs below:
This evening, as I was trying to distract myself from the mundaneness of folding laundry and prepping dinner, I ran into some Facebook drama. I don’t think any of us intends to get into trouble on Facebook, it just happens. Tonight, in the sea of emotions—errr—comments, I felt like I had to represent the facts and of course the topic had to be public aid.
My first thought was, in a country that is supposed to stand for freedom, opportunity, and security for all, why would a human being want to see another human being starve? Why? I am very familiar with the SNAP program (food stamps). It runs at 98 percent efficiency. That means there is nearly no waste, no fraud, and almost total accountability. It is one of the most efficient government programs there is. And that level of efficiency tells us all one thing: The people using the program all need the program because they all qualify for the program. Think about that for a moment.
One of the most noticeable things about the comments I encountered in that Facebook exchange was that people felt that anyone using a form of public aid was using their money. I found it interesting, from a sociological perspective, how possessive these people were of tax dollars that go into the general coffers when used towards social programs such as SNAP, Social Security, Medicare, etc. When referring to those programs I started reading things like: “I don’t want MY MONEY…” even though all money goes into one giant funnel. Personally, I don’t like working to support what I think are illegal wars that cost an estimated six trillion dollars. I would much rather pay taxes for healthcare and college or trade school for every one of my fellow citizens, but somehow public sentiment has changed to the point where that has a negative connotation, which flies in the face of the very foundation our Founding Fathers established for this country.
“All the property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it.”
~ Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father, American diplomat, statesman, and scientist; letter to Robert Morris, December 25, 1783