At the Conservative Political Action Conference in February, Congressman Ron Paul declared that every conservative who objects to government spending should “. . . take care of yourself, don’t ask the government for anything”. (Source, Paragraph 17) Sure. I’d pay money to see that happen.
The republithugs love to squawk that they adore the Constitution and chastise, belittle, and whine about “welfare recipients”. They won’t admit, even to themselves, that we are all welfare recipients and that every “welfare program” is constitutional.
The government’s six specific purposes, stated the Constitution, are: “ . . . to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity . . . .”
Those six tasks outline an enormous responsibility. Pretty much anything can fit into that list. It doesn’t lend itself to “small government”. The phrase “promote the general welfare” does not refer only to public assistance programs. It means that Congress has the power and duty to act in the nation’s best interest. We can always debate what’s in our best interest, but Congress and the states have enacted many programs, projects, and public works throughout America’s history. Every American, including you, benefits from them. They are all public assistance programs.
The Constitution requires Congress to establish and maintain post offices, roads, bankruptcy laws, and trademark, patent, and copyright protections. At various times, Congress decided that cash assistance, SNAP (food stamps), WIC and other food assistance programs, public housing, Medicaid, subsidized childcare, and energy assistance are in our best interest.
I’ll bet you don’t know that every child who eats meals in school receives welfare benefits. School meals fall into three categories: free, reduced-price, and “full-price”. The federal government subsidizes every meal, including part of the “full-price” meals. So, if you or your children have ever eaten lunch in school, you benefitted from a “welfare program”, because Congress decided that it was in our national best interest.
They also decided that . . .
clean water, clean food, and safe medications,
mental health and substance abuse research, information, and services,
public schools, community colleges, vocational and adult education programs, state universities, public libraries, and Sesame Street,
workplace health and safety regulations, car seatbelts and air bags,
public utility and nuclear facility regulation and toxic dump cleanup,
railroad, highway, maritime, and airline safety,
public defenders and refugee resettlement services,
farm subsidies, crop insurance, and agricultural information and support,
G.I. Bill benefits, veterans’ disability benefits, hospitals, and cemeteries,
public accommodations for the disabled, senior citizen centers, home delivered meals, and senior/disabled transportation services,
free tax preparation services, college loans, and insured bank accounts,
federal disaster aid, oil subsidies, bank bailouts, and guaranteed mortgages,
national, state, and local parks, museums, historical centers, and sports stadiums,
interstate highways, a national passenger train system, and major airports,
public roads, bridges, tunnels, sewers, and dams,
the National Weather Service, and reclaimed abandoned mines,
civil rights, equal rights, and human rights enforcement,
and a national internet system connecting the public with every facet of our government and with educational, cultural, charitable, and commercial resources
. . . are also in our best interest.
We all have personally benefited from many of these “welfare programs’. Yes, you too. A nation is only as strong as its people. These benefits make our people stronger and our nation better. So it might be a good idea to stop chastising, belittling, and whining about “welfare recipients”. People always gripe about BIG GOVERNMENT. Right up until they need it.
WE ARE ONE.
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