We Have Lost The War On Poverty–What Do We Do Now ?

Big Government posted an article yesterday about the growing dependence of Americans on government and its impact–current and future–on our society.

The article cites a Heritage Foundation study:

“Today…67.3 million Americans, from college students to retirees to welfare beneficiaries—depend on the federal government for housing, food, income, student aid, or other assistance once considered to be the responsibility of individuals, families, neighborhoods, churches, and other civil society institutions…Unsustainable increases in dependent populations predate the recent recession—and continuing economic morass—and have continued to rise since the economy collapsed in 2008 and 2009.”

As the government has taken over the responsibilities of families, churches, and other charitable institutions, these institutions have become weaker.

The article points out:

The Administration is allowing people to become fully dependent on them for their basic needs like food and access to health services, even encouraging it. The more they rely on the Government, the more Government has control of their lives and the less people feel they are capable of escaping their situation.  Without responsibility and choices, they give up.

An excellent example of this was presented in a study in 1976 by Langer and Rodin.  It showed the effects of nursing home patients who were given responsibility and choices as opposed to those “where conformity and passivity is encouraged and every whim is attended to.”  The latter dramatically declined in overall “health and well-being”.  The study was extended to homeless shelters.  When people were given both responsibility and choices they were much more likely to find work and a place to live.

People do better when they have responsibilities and purpose. We need to bring back the concept that there is value in all work. Somehow we have lost that and have focused instead on over-educating our young people at high expense and leaving them with massive debt and unrealistic expectations. It’s time to reinvent America’s values and bring back people helping people (instead of government helping people) and the value of work and responsibility.

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