Saturday, April 18, 2009

Welfare vs. Trust Funds

Disclaimer: I realize what I'm about to post will probably offend some Republicans and right-leaning moderates. Note: I said Republicans, not conservatives. Republicans are doing a great job of running their fragile party into the ground, so maybe this will be a wake-up call to gather up common sense and try to be decent people. No, not all Republicans are indecent. Some of my favorite people are Republicans (i.e. my dad). But it's time to be careful about who gets the microphone and who spouts off nonsense within earshot of thinking people (Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, whoever the spokesperson of the week is). I'm not going to skirt around the issues. I've had some things on my mind lately, and it's time to get them out in the open.

Welfare: This is a four-letter word to most Republicans. How dare tax dollars go to feed hungry children or help someone pay rent! First off, if you think you're entitled to have approval of every cent the government spends, you're living in a fantasy land. We also cannot reasonably expect every social program to work flawlessly. Just because there are problems does not mean the program should be eliminated. When your pitcher gives up a hit or two, you don't automatically put someone else in (unless you're the Yankess - get it together, guys).

The assumption that all people on welfare are lazy and don't want to work is ludicrous. I'm sure there are a few people who fit the bill, but it's certainly nowhere near a majority. In fact, many of these people work harder than those pulling in six figures. Have you ever gone to school full time while working two full-time jobs? I have. There are plenty of people like me. There are families who cannot feed themselves, and it doesn't mean it's their fault. This isn't a "what goes around comes around thing" - I don't believe in that after living through the last eight years of abuse of power.

Food stamps - or whatever new acronym they're using - is a great program to help feed people who don't otherwise have the means to feed themselves. Have you ever qualified for food stamps? I have. In fact, I'm looking into it now. I'm 26, and I've had a job since I was 16. I work hard and often. I have debt but I'm paying it off, I pay my bills, I pay taxes, but I got sick in June. What does that translate to? Essentially, I make -$550 a month. I don't think anyone who knows me would call me lazy if I sought government help.

These social programs are a way of raising the status quo. It is an absolute embarrassment that we live in a country with so much wealth and so many poor. I would be embarrassed to have a large salary now, unless I were giving a substantial part to various charitable organizations. Sure, I work hard for my money, but I'd rather do without some luxuries and allow my neighbor to have a roof over his or her head. I'd rather pay in a little more in taxes so other people can go to the doctor without fear of the cost.

But left-wing socialist liberals aren't the only ones who believe in helping out the less fortunate. The poor often take the rap for not working, but if you've ever been to college, you know there are plenty of well-off people who do nothing but self-destruct on someone else's dime. Which brings me to...

Trust Funds: Or, as I'd like to call it, rich people welfare. Have we ever really asked ourselves why we are so preoccupied with this ridiculous notion that someday we can all be rich? Why do the rich want so much money? The answer: so they don't have to work, or so they have to work less.

In college, as I mentioned before, I worked two jobs. I didn't get everything handed to me. I took out debt to pay expenses and class costs, I worked with mono to pay the bills, and I never asked for a penny. However, I know plenty of people who did absolutely nothing and were showered with money from parents or grandparents or whoever set up the monetary safety net. Now, there is nothing wrong with not working in college. There is something wrong, however, with an entitlement complex that gives you the mentality that you can get whatever you want simply by asking.

I've never had a trust fund, I'm quite certain I never will, and I don't plan on setting them up for my children, either. I'll save money for college educations and other such things, but I'm not giving my kids a windfall so they can take my place in whatever company I'm running and essentially sit at a desk and play Wii.

These wealthy individuals believe in helping the less fortunate as well, only they limit it to those who share their DNA. I want to help the less fortunate regardless of relation to me. Calling Democratic policies socialist because they aim to help the less fortunate obtain necessities is hypocritical. The nay-sayers need to do some self-reflection.

At the heart of it, we all, for the most part, have compassion for those less fortunate. Some of us are willing to act on a broader scope than others, but it should never been presented as a negative quality.