Eventually Everyone Figures This Out

This post is based on an article on The Federalist Papers website. It consists of two quotes about welfare and the consequences of our current welfare programs.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback explained the problems with our current welfare system:

“Welfare is failing, just not for the reason you think. For too long, conventional wisdom in Washington, D.C., has dictated the best way to move people out of poverty is to expand welfare programs so that individuals could possibly, gradually, work their way out of dependency.

Kansas’ recent reform experience turns that notion upside down.

It is now clear that welfare fails because it ensnares people in poverty by paying them to not work. Welfare fails because it discourages people from improving their lives. So many recipients don’t work and get caught on welfare, suffering in poverty for years…even generations.

Fortunately, there’s a proven way to help.

Kansas shows what’s possible when you free people from the welfare trap. With assistance from the Foundation for Government Accountability, Kansas just completed the most comprehensive welfare tracking project of its kind. We matched more than 41,000 individuals as they moved off welfare with their employment records at the state’s Department of Labor.

…When moved off food stamps, half of these Kansans began working immediately. Nearly three-fifths were employed within 12 months and their incomes rose by an average of 127 percent during that first year. Incomes kept increasing as they progressed to full-time work and increased their wages. Better still, those higher wages more than offset the food stamps lost, making them more financially secure. This is real success!

Kansas’ simple reforms have led to more employment, higher incomes, less poverty, and lower spending.

Even those still on food stamps (but now required to work to keep them) are twice as likely to be working and have also substantially increased their incomes, though their overall incomes are still not as high as those freed completely from welfare. The result is that these individuals now need less help and their average time on food stamps is cut in half.

…For too long, Washington, D.C. has encouraged states to extend food stamps and expand Medicaid to ever more able-bodied adults. They promised welfare as an economic stimulus and states – red and blue alike –bought it. The result is not stimulus, but malaise.

People on welfare are working less, earning less and as a result are trapped in poverty. Millions of them. It’s a national tragedy.

Fortunately, states have many reform tools to roll back what has become the gateway to dependency: food stamps. States can assist their citizens by restoring work requirements, time limits, asset tests, reducing eligibility loopholes, and eliminating fraud.

Once free, those previously dependent on the government are motivated to work and earn more than just money: they gain self-worth, dignity, and a hopeful future. All things a person can’t get from welfare.

Americans know the value of hard work. That’s why common-sense work requirements were core to the bipartisan 1996 welfare reform that turns 20 this year.

Now is the perfect time for Congress to expand work requirements and time limits for non-disabled adults on all welfare programs – including Medicaid, ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion, food stamps, and housing. It’s time to start holding states to asset tests for all welfare programs. It’s time to return welfare to the truly needy and stop trapping Americans in government dependency.

With these reforms, Congress can help restore the working class and give real hope to millions still trapped in poverty and a failing welfare system.”

The second quote is from Benjamin Franklin:

I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.

There is no country in the world where so many provisions are established for them; so many hospitals to receive them when they are sick or lame, founded and maintained by voluntary charities; so many alms-houses for the aged of both sexes, together with a solemn general law made by the rich to subject their estates to a heavy tax for the support of the poor.

Under all these obligations, are our poor modest, humble, and thankful; and do they use their best endeavors to maintain themselves, and lighten our shoulders of this burthen? — On the contrary, I affirm that there is no country in the world in which the poor are more idle, dissolute, drunken, and insolent.

The day you passed that act, you took away from before their eyes the greatest of all inducements to industry, frugality, and sobriety, by giving them a dependence on somewhat else than a careful accumulation during youth and health, for support in age or sickness.

In short, you offered a premium for the encouragement of idleness, and you should not now wonder that it has had its effect in the increase of poverty.

Repeal that law, and you will soon see a change in their manners. St. Monday, and St. Tuesday, will cease to be holidays. SIX days shalt thou labor, though one of the old commandments long treated as out of date, will again be looked upon as a respectable precept; industry will increase, and with it plenty among the lower people; their circumstances will mend, and more will be done for their happiness by inuring them to provide for themselves, than could be done by dividing all your estates among them.

We don’t do anyone any good by giving them things they did not have to work for. There is something in human nature that feels a sense of accomplishment when we earn something and feels less than capable when we have to depend on someone else for everything. We need a change of attitude in the American welfare system. It’s time to help people get back to work instead of encouraging them to take more from those who do work.

A Republic, If You Can Keep It

A friend of mine writes a column for the Beaufort Observer. Her most recent column was particularly relevant to today’s news. Here it is:

NancyMurdock

April 21, 2015

The story goes that after the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin was asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got – a Republic or a Monarchy?” Franklin responded: “A Republic – if you can keep it.”

These days no one is openly clamoring for a monarchy, but few talk much about our Republic, other than in the pledge of allegiance to the flag. In fact, most people think we are a democracy, even though our founders went to great lengths to determine that not so. James Madison clearly spoke of the problems of a democracy when he wrote: “Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths”.

The word democracy was seldom used in this country before the presidency of our old friend, Woodrow Wilson. He used the slogan “making the world safe for democracy” as a battle cry to get the US into World War I. It became such a bone of contention that the government itself through various means attempted to clarify the matter. The US Army’s Training Manual of 1928 contained a section explaining in detail the difference between a democracy and a republic in the original, historical sense. However, the cat was out of the bag as schools and the press routinely used the word democracy to identify our form of government, and now it is a generally accepted term.

James Madison explained a republic in Federalist Papers, No. 39: “We may define a republic to be…a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during [the people’s] pleasure for a limited period, or during good behavior”. (That good behavior part presents a serious problem.)

The left loves to attack the Constitution by stating that at the time of its ratification our country was small and mainly agrarian, but it is no longer suitable for an industrial huge nation. Madison addressed that point specifically in Federalist Paper, No. 14: “In a democracy the people meet and exercise the government in person; in a republic they assemble and administer it by their representatives and agents. A democracy, consequently, must be confined to a small spot. A republic may be extended over a large region”. How and where the people live should not affect the type of federal government required – unless the government wishes to control every aspect of the lives of the citizens.

The real reason the left does not like the Constitution is that it does not allow for a Federal government that would contain a Department of Labor, a Department of Agriculture, A Department of Education, a Department of Energy, and hundreds of other agencies not enumerated within the Constitution. The basic truth is this: the Constitution would never have been ratified if there had been even the slightest hint of a central government with one tenth the power which it now embodies. The Federalist of 1787 (those supporting a strong Federal government) would identify with those currently called strict Constitutionalist (known in some circles as far right wing nut jobs and whacky birds) and the Anti-Federalist (those wanting a weaker central power) would probably move to a South American island.

More and more it appears as we have been unable to keep our Republic. The question as to what comes next is still open to debate. Will more Americans accept slavery to the state or will a new spirit demanding liberty arise from the ashes?

Solutions That May Be Too Late

I am sure that all of us have heard many fellow Americans say things like, “There’s no point in voting–they are all alike” or “Washington is so corrupt, it can never be fixed.” These are very discouraging statements, particularly because there is some truth in both of them. Ted Cruz is offering solutions. I am just not sure he can break through the corruption to get those solutions implemented.

Yesterday Western Journalism posted an article entitled, “Ted Cruz Unveils A 10-Step Path For GOP To Follow Into 2016.”

The article quotes a statement made by Ted Cruz that is chilling because it is true:

“If we simply settle into business as usual in this town and keep growing and growing and growing the leviathan and keep shrinking and shrinking and shrinking that sphere of individual liberty, we will demoralize the millions of men and women who came out in November and gave Republicans the biggest majority in the house since the 1920s.”

After giving a speech at Heritage Action’s 2015 Conservative Policy Summit, Ted Cruz tweeted his 10-Step Plan. Here are the highlights:

1. Embrace a big pro-jobs, growth agenda.

2. Do everything humanly possible to repeal Obamacare.

3. Secure the border and stop amnesty.

4. Hold government accountable and rein in judicial activism.

5. Stop the culture of corruption in Washington.

6. Pass fundamental tax reform, making taxes flatter, simpler, and fairer.

7. Audit the Fed.

8. Pass a strong balanced budget amendment.

9. Get the federal government out of the business of dictating education standards.

10. Deal seriously with the twin threats of ISIS and a nuclear Iran.

These are fantastic ideas. Unfortunately, there are very powerful forces at work that will oppose a number of these ideas. We need to support these ideas. If you don’t like Ted Cruz, find someone you can support who supports these ideas.

Last fall, I heard a statement from a member of Congress who was very concerned about the direction our nation has taken. I am not mentioning his name because I can’t remember how public the event was. The member of Congress stated that unless we elect someone out of the political class–someone like a Rand Paul or a Ted Cruz–we may not be able to turn this country back to its founding principles. Please keep that in mind when you decide who to support in 2016.

Remember the words of Benjamin Franklin after the Constitutional Convention of 1787, when he was asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?” He replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

If we are to keep our Republic, we need to get rid of the political establishment that has taken hold of Washington, D.C. Removing establishment politicians of both parties is our only hope.

What Are Our Children Learning?

I have posted a few articles on Common Core and on the AP U. S. History course for high school students. There are some real questions as to what the curricula associated with these standards and programs is actually teaching, but now we have strange curriculum showing up in other areas.

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article quoting Minnesota teachers on how their schools teach literature classes.

The article included the following description of how Edina High School in Edina, Minnesota teaches literature classes:

Acceptance and inter-cultural understanding can be fostered through the use of powerful texts, discussion, analysis, and exploration in the classroom. An English curriculum grounded in social justice rests on a belief based in equity—that each person should have access to resources regardless of race, gender, ability, age, socio-economic status, or sexual orientation.

Why is our educational system trying to divide Americans instead of focusing on the things we have in common that made this country great?

The article includes a comment from Woodbury High School:

At Woodbury High School, the [literature] course is primarily structured chronologically. Social, economic, cultural and political frameworks of the readings are sometimes explored explicitly through eight critical lenses: feminist, deconstruction, new criticism, new historical/biographical, reader response, post-colonial, psychological and Marxist theory. Students apply critical literary elements such as figurative language, symbolism, and motif to find author’s intent.

What about teaching them the uniqueness of the U.S. Constitution instead?

John Hinderaker sums it up:

This is mis-education, worse than not attending school at all. Any child of normal intelligence would gain more from staying up late at night and reading books with a flashlight under the covers than from being subjected to such cant. For many students, such palpable bullshit is likely to ruin literature forever.

After the Constitutional Convention in 1787, people gathered outside Independence Hall in order to learn what had been created. A website called ourrepubliconline.com reports:

A Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Unless we do a better job of educating our children, we won’t be able to keep it.

Posted On Facebook By Allen West

As I ponder the NSA records data mining episode here are my thoughts. This is like carpet bombing vs. precision attack. Can someone explain why we weren’t listening to Anwar-al-Awlaki and his conversations with Major Nidal Hasan? Why weren’t we able to track Carlos Bledsoe‘s travel to Somalia and Yemen to receive terrorist training? Why didn’t we pay attention to warning signs of Abdul Mutallab (underwear bomber) with a one-way ticket and little baggage traveling from Nigeria to America? Why weren’t we paying attention to the Tsarnaev brothers’ travels and connections to Chechen Islamic terrorism — heck Russia warned us? Why is it that in October 2011, 57 Islamic organizations — several with ties to Muslim Brotherhood — sent a letter to then counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan demanding we purge training materials and punish instructors they deemed “offensive” and we didn’t say “shove it” and target THEIR records? We’d rather carpet bomb Americans to cover our cowardice in confronting Islamic extremism. Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
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