"Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery." --Winston Churchill
Favorite Accusation Against Conservatives #2: Conservatives hate poor people.
I DON'T hate poor people. I DON'T hate unemployed Americans. I DON'T hate people who receive food stamps. I DON'T hate children on Medicaid. Yeah, these are all things that people have said to me and about me and about others who share my political opinions.
When my husband went back to school, we were both unemployed, raising two small children, and living off of a dwindling savings account and student loans. In his second year of law school, the census rolled around. I don't like the census: The concept makes me mad and I feel as though some of the questions violate my privacy. So, I refused to fill it out. Refusal, is of course, against federal law, so it was no surprise when a federal census representative showed up on our front door step. I kindly invited her in and we exchanged pleasantries. She asked me some of the more general questions on the census forms and I agreed to answer them while still refusing to answer others. Toward the end of our conversation she began asking me about our household income, or in our case, the lack thereof, and our healthcare coverage. Although we were unemployed at the time, my husband and I had allocated funds to provide health insurance for our children. I explained to the agent that our children are our financial responsibility, not anyone else's. The census agent was fascinated by that declaration! She pulled some papers out of her leather satchel and began to explain the glory of Medicaid and CHIPS and how I should get my kiddos enrolled. She told me that it wasn't fair that I should have to pay high healthcare premiums for our children while my husband was in school. I allowed her to speak and then as gently and respectively as I could, I informed her that I was an educated, able-bodied individual and that if and when our money ran out, I would get a job and pay for my children's healthcare the old fashioned way--by working. I smiled and explained to her that one of the greatest lessons my parents taught me as a child was that life isn't fair.
Now hear me out: I know there are individuals who are working hard and still can't afford health insurance for their children. And benefits such as Medicaid and programs such as CHIPS have, up until the disaster known as Obamacare, served to bridge that gap. So, don't misunderstand me: I am not belittling the honest efforts of some to make ends meet and yet, they still need some help. My issue with the census agent, and the countless other bureaucrats I have had the misfortune of dealing with, was that I was UNEMPLOYED at the time of her lecture, not UNABLE to work. There is a difference.
So, that story and that friendly bureaucrat lead me to my next admission: I hate hand outs to able-bodied American brats. I HATE laziness. I detest attitudes of entitlement and expectancy. I loathe the idea of long-term governmental dependency.I believe in a strong work ethic, personal responsibility and ambition. I believe in small businesses, free markets and entrepreneurship. I believe in low taxes and frugal spending habits (at the household, local, state, and national level). I believe that excessive taxation cripples economic growth and that the redistribution of wealth is not only socialistic and stupid; but also down right immoral. "Taking from the rich and giving to the poor" makes everybody feel all warm and fuzzy--but as great as it sounds and as wonderful a notion as it seems, taking from some, in order to give it, unearned, to others, is theft.
It is bad business to discourage innovation and even worse business to reward slothfulness. I believe that most Americans can do anything they want to do and are capable of being anything they want to be, if they are willing to sacrifice and work hard enough. Like I have said before, the difference between me and a liberal: The liberal man wants to hand out fish to the poor so that he can create a dependency, thus securing his power. I want to teach the poor to fish for themselves, so that one day, they can become my socio-economical equal or perhaps, my boss!
One day during my husband's final semester of law school, I was complaining about being poor and deeply in debt, when a fellow law school student explained to me that being poor was a temporary state, while being impoverished was a more permanent condition. I liked, and needed, that clarification. I think we, as Americans, have a skewed perspective when we discuss 'poor people'. American poor people still have housing, clothes, food and in many cases, thanks to Obama, cell phones. I don't think many of us have encountered true poverty or come face to face with someone who is truly unable to help themselves. Contrary to liberal belief, I and many other conservatives, sincerely want to help individuals and assist in meeting people's most basic needs. I want to end hunger, provide clean water and medical aide to any and all needy Americans. But, trust me when I say, our bloated government is not capable of accomplishing these monumental tasks. Bureaucrats and special interests groups manipulate and complicate the most well-intended social solutions.
American standards of living have dramatically changed in recent decades: everyone feels entitled to owning a home, everyone thinks they should own two cars, everyone assumes they should go to college: we have morphed into a society where everyone thinks everybody should have everything right now! Our system and our expectations are unsustainable and out of control. Our poorest person is still relatively comfortable when compared to the people of other nations. People in other countries would give anything, some their own lives, to experience a moment of American opportunity. Husbands leave their wives behind, parents live separated from their beloved children, so that they can come to America in search of their dream, their chance at prosperity, their piece of the American pie. Everyday, American success stories rise out of the inner cities and small town, rural USA and succeed in ending the cycle of poor that has defined their lives and imprisoned their families. In America, a poor man or woman, can obtain an education, work hard, stretch out their hand and grab success. If you don't believe me, look around you.
My heart's desire is to minister to all people regardless of education or income. I want to figure out a way for our society to teach the less fortunate and assist in equipping them to help themselves. Otherwise, when our bloated national government finally goes bankrupt because they can't sustain the high costs of an entitlement society; dependent, poor people in America will find themselves being sucked into true poverty--and that my friends, will be a much more difficult condition to improve.