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Does the government owe me?

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    More people I know are going onto Food Stamps these days. It seems several people I know have taken jobs, making much less than what they had before, and now qualify. I've noticed that there seems to be an attitude change with people towards taking money from the government.  Where I would have never heard about someone being on food stamps, much less people asking me how to do it, considering I just graduated from law school. I am surprised to find that it is so openly talked about and accepted. This new feeling of the government owes me doesn't stop with just food stamps but seems to encompass unemployment as well.

    My question is, does the government owe us? Is anyone else seeing this trend of openess toward discussing unemployment benefits, food stamps, and other government welfare programs?
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    I wouldn't be too judgmental about people taking forms of government welfare.  Psychologists are writing papers on the long term effects of being unemployed...the words anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and despair commonly appear in their writings.  Professor Arthur Goldsmith's research at Washington and Lee University touches on these points in this short article from October 2008, Professor's Research Warns of Psychological Effects on Unemployment.

    "In addition to a diminished sense of self, those exposed to a few months of unemployment begin to exhibit higher levels of anxiety, depression, and lack of sleep. If people face prolonged unemployed, six to nine months or longer, the psychological effects often become chronic and have a long lasting effect.  

    “What’s really interesting is that this compromised sense of self becomes hardens and is better described as a permanent scar rather than a blemish. Even when people become employed again, the adverse impact of unemployment on psychological well-being lingers.”


    Much like PTSD is being studied and recognized in returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan, the long term emotional impact of being unemployed is the topic of new reseach that will be discussed and debated in the next decade.  Particularly for those "99ers" that just simply cannot find a job for whatever reason, the emotional impact must be especially severe. I really feel for them.  And for many, government welfare is their last hope...
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    Does the government owe us a living?

    That depends on who you think owns the country. Is it a nation of the people as in "We the people". Or is it a nation that belongs to those who personally own most of the land and the means of production.

    If this is a nation of the people then the general welfare of the people should be at the top of our to do list for the government.  But, from what I see, the nation is actually owned by those who, through their wealth, control even what they don't personally own.

    Since those who own the means of production are able to shop for cheap labor anywhere on the globe the American laborer has become redundant and therefore of no concern to the nation. That is why the administration empaneled labor haters like Alan Simpson  and Erskin Bowles to recommend budget cures like cutting Social Security and medicare.

    According to our present government, NO! The quicker most of us blue collar guys die, the better for controlling the deficit.
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    Frank,

    I can see that happening to those I love around me and can believe that. My problem is more those that choose to use the governments, i.e. everyone's money, and do not try to find jobs. The one's specifically that say that they are "owed" this money. I look at those people and cringe. I wonder how many or what percent of people that are recieving government benefits do it because of what they are "owed" instead of because they need it"

    After all, yes the money is there to help. But abuse of that money creates larger problems in the long run, such as an even greater debt.

    Now, I have no idea how you would weed these people out nor can I condone spending money to research and investigate this, as that will do more harm than good. I guess I just hope, that these people that feel they are "owed" will run out of time and be forced to stop taking advantage of all of us.
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    Chipper,

    As to what the country is founded on, yes in the preamble it says "We the People."  Yes, it is a goverment by the people and for the people. Which means that this government should work to help those who need it. But do you feel that the goverment owes you more than you recieve?
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    The trouble is that most people think the needy are getting food stamps, housing vouchers, etc, so they don't give very much to charity. I think mutual-aid societies should be given more room to flourish.


    LLBarry Wrote:
    After all, yes the money is there to help. But abuse of that money creates larger problems in the long run, such as an even greater debt.

    Now, I have no idea how you would weed these people out nor can I condone spending money to research and investigate this, as that will do more harm than good.


    Many studies have been done on welfare, and comparing the statistics with all the variables can be a nightmare to make any sense out of. I think it's better to just examine the incentives in place.
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    LLBarry Wrote: I am surprised to find that [government human services are] so openly talked about and accepted. This new feeling of the government owes me doesn't stop with just food stamps but seems to encompass unemployment as well.

    My question is, does the government owe us? Is anyone else seeing this trend of openess toward discussing unemployment benefits, food stamps, and other government welfare programs?


    Your comment and question expresses the Reaganite view and attitude toward human services, and it is that view and attitude that frames the issue to make it seem as if people who are helped by those services think the government "owes them."

    Of course, there may be some leeches who do think that, but research has shown that most people who benefit from government human services need it and use it for only as long as it is needed.

    Furthermore, that Reaganite view and attitude is very misleading, but many people do not realize that. It is a prevalent attitude because Ronald Reagan said everyone should be "self-reliant" and "not depend on government."

    That, however, was just a cunning way to justify cutting human services and cutting taxes for the wealthiest few who simply don't want to pay their fair share of taxes. And Bush, who expanded Reaganism and made it worse, did the same thing.

    Granted, it is good to be self-reliant, and we all should try to be. But, as the Founding Fathers knew and intended, good government should promote the general welfare and ensure fairness and justice for all the people.

    In hard times, many people need help, and even though non-profit charity organizations and soup lines and food banks try to provide help, it is usually not nearly enough. That's why there are now 15.5 Million children in America living in poverty even though 79 percent of them live in households were at least one adult is working full time.

    During the Great Depression Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal programs saved a lot of people from suffering from poverty, hunger and homelessness. He established a safety net, put millions of people to work, and provided jobs training.

    Unfortunately, for the last 30 years the Reaganites have steadily been striving to destroy Roosevelt's New Deal programs, claiming they are "socialist." (And in fact, that's what Republicans in Roosevelt's day said too, but the vast majority of Americans loved Roosevelt.)

    Because the Reaganite view and attitude was sold as being patriotic and religious, many Americans believed and still believe in the Reaganite "Gospel of Prosperity."

    That Reaganite "Gospel of Prosperity" claims that wealth is a reward from God and that the poor deserve to be poor because their "just lazy." But, while many of the Reaganites are on the "religious right," that partisan political ideology does not serve God or Country. It serves Mammon and the wealthiest few, at the expense of everyone else -- especially the working poor, the poor, the elderly, the disabled, and the least of our brethren.

    We, the people, need to take care of each other -- especially those who need help. And we can best do that as taxpayers so that our government can do what it should do, which is promote the general welfare and use the common wealth for the common good.

    Read Poverty: America's Greatest Shame. And listen to this song called We Can Change Our World.


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    Conservatives will say "Some abuse the food stamp program and therefore we should end it". And say this about all aid. But I have a question for conservatives. Do smart people throw the baby out with the bathwater?