By Nathan Barton
Today, it seems that more and more of government resources here in the Fifty States – federal, state, tribal, and local – go to providing welfare. Although the statistics seem to say otherwise, the cost of helping people with the costs of food, housing, utilities, and more goes up and up.
This has been the case for more than half a century, with the proclamation of the Great Society back in the 1960s. That was when the FedGov got deeply involved: much like the old Southern story of the Tar Baby. In for a dime, in for a dollar, after decades. (Actually, more like “in for a million, in for multiple billions!” I guess.) But for decades before that, way back to the Great Depression in the 1920s and 1930s, we know that more and more of the expenditures of local and state governments were spent to “alleviate poverty” and “help the poor.” Indeed, we can see the growth of the welfare state all the way back to the 1910s.
But it wasn’t always this way. Once upon a time, government spent very little on any sort of welfare, and definitely not on providing welfare for women, children, the disabled, the unemployed and others. No, it wasn’t that such things did not exist in the past; as Jesus told His disciples, “the poor you will always have with you.”
Here is an example of what can and IS being done. It comes from KENN Radio in Farmington, Northwestern New Mexico.
Mama’s Note: Similar “fill the bus” food drives are being carried out in a lot of other places. We have a local school bus parked at the grocery store here too.
On Saturday, 11th November 2017 (Armistice Day or Veterans Day), there is a special effort to get people to donate materials and money – to support the local food banks in advance of Thanksgiving. It is sponsored by the local radio stations (including KENN) and Sam’s Club.
The food bank is the ECHO Inc. food bank in Farmington. It is mostly a private organization (Economic Council Helping Others) and sponsored by hundreds of local organizations. They are mostly businesses, including retail stores, oil companies, oilfield service and other industrial companies. There are civic organizations. It does include a lot of local government (schools, cities, the county, and tribe) and even some unions. But it is NOT primarily a government entity. Most if not all its workers are unpaid volunteers, especially senior citizens and school students.
Yes, San Juan County has all the usual government welfare programs, but this does a better, more efficient job, and isn’t just “taxes” – theft. If the local, state, and federal taxes were eliminated so that people could decide where and how they want to spend their money, I would expect that ECHO and other private, voluntary organizations would more than replace the government welfare programs.
If we ever give them the chance.
Think very much about how you, your family, friends, business and neighborhood can help replace government.
Mama’s Note: Private charity is, of course, the answer to many of the current problems of society. Unfortunately, the entitlement mentality of so many, not just the “poor,” will have to be addressed somehow first.
Except for the truly homeless (a whole other subject), most “poor” folks today have color television, even cable, computers and fancy cell phones, microwaves, cars, plenty of food and clothing… and much of the rest of modern conveniences.The local thrift store here often cannot even GIVE away the things that are donated, and much of that is sent to the landfill!
Many, if not most of these poor folks also have smoking, alcohol, gambling, drug and other habits that suck up much of the “income” they get from any source, and these create a host of social and medical problems for themselves and their children. Charity for these people, voluntary or not, is simply enabling the very things that are damaging their lives. They are always in a crisis, but demonstrate little will or effort to solve the basic problems or seek real help in doing so. In addition, they are often hostile to the givers if there are any limits or hints they should change their lifestyle. And, since they believe they are entitled to what others produce, they are often hostile anyway!
Thirty years ago, when I lived in the desert of So. Calif., I was a member of a local organization called “Helping Hands.” In cooperation with most churches in town, and some of the businesses, we collected food, clothes, household supplies, even some furniture. We offered limited help with utilities and our members provided some transportation to elderly and the sick who had no way to get to the doctor. Things like that. We maintained a telephone “hot line” with board members and volunteers taking the calls and making the decisions about what help could be given. Recipients were limited to one assistance a year, but exceptions were made.
Our primary clients were the elderly, families who had been burned out, lost everything in a divorce, or other major catastrophe. Sorting out those who were actually worthy from the ranks of the professional moochers was a very challenging and thankless job. I’m glad I was part of that effort then, but would not want the stress of doing it again.