Friday, August 20, 2004

Government, charity and entitlement

While catching up over at Texas Rainmaker, I found this thread a pretty compelling deconstruction of the traditional liberal vs. conservative argument on social programs.

I’ll be gathering my own thoughts on this subject soon. But Jason’s original comments, coupled with the back and forth in his comments, is a good start.


  1. Rick,
    I don't know if you read "Harpers" or not, but Lewis H Lapham's article "Tentacles of Rage" may add to your thought gathering... it was a rather disheartening article but the hope is that there still are enough of us out here in the masses that care more for humanity than for money. Naomi Klein's aticle "Baghdad Year Zero" was an excellent read also...
    Keep up the good blog and keep Josh fed with tidbits .


  2. Thanks Rick, for the plug.

    You know, Susan, some of us argue against government-sponsored welfare simply because we believe the gubmint is the wrong vehicle to help the needy. I, for one, believe a corrupt system helps nobody. When Sheila Jackson Lee makes over $150,000/year while governing a constituency that averages around $20,000 per year, it's hard for me to believe my tax dollars are really helping those in need. You should see her nice Mercedes she drives around Houston. "Public service" sho' got its perks.

    No, some of us feel passionately about helping others, so we volunteer time as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, donate food and money to the Star of Hope mission, give clothes to Purple Heart and Goodwill, serve up food at the Salvation Army and make fundraising calls for the Red Cross. And yes, we still have a little left over at the end of the day to tithe our church to sponsor missions all over the world. No imagine if we weren't taxed to our eyeballs under the guise of "welfare assistance" just to fund BMWs and 'official junkets' for the whole family.

    It is a convenient argument for some to make trying to paint those of us opposed to gubmint inefficiency to say we're heartless or that we prefer greed over humanity.... but the real sad part is it just ain't true.

  3. I believe my intent was misread. I would paint Ms Lee or the "public servant" I personally know who makes $150,000 and drives the BMW overseeing the program for Handicapped Children (while the teachers working with the children earn $7.00/hour) with the "heartless" brush rather than a conservative citizen who questions where their tax dollars go and (to quote Will Rodger) prays that they "don't get as much government as they pay for". But conversly, I distrust the motives of government officials with financial investments in "oil" and "war" when they start a 'pre-emptive" war on another oil-bearing country and spend the lives of my neighbors and my tax dollars for questionable cause..

    The the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to our Constitution clearly defines the role of citizens and government. Anything outside the constitution should be questioned. It might not be a bad idea for all regulations, programs, taxes, etc to be written with term limits. Frequently, programs that were put in place to fix a problem, become a problem and patches don't open the way to a new creative solution.

    What is the role of government? What should be public? What should be private? What's our responsiblity?

    I would like to see more dialog about these issues. I like to see debate and discussion between liberal and conservative that focused on moving forward, not spin and fingerpointing. I find this debate in the trenches, volunteering to help others and here in the ether...So, as a "bleeding heart" liberal, I will continue to read Jason's blog for balance.

  4. Thanks, Susan. I understand your points. Keep in mind when reading my blog that my "rational side" doesn't always rule, as my blog is a place for me to vent things I think are ridiculous or outrageous.

    I enjoy political debate without the spin as well. I've been known to rethink positions when confronted with clear facts and new understandings. That's why I spend so much time on "Pinko Rick's" blog. ;)

  5. "But conversly, I distrust the motives of government officials with financial investments in "oil" and "war" when they start a 'pre-emptive" war on another oil-bearing country and spend the lives of my neighbors and my tax dollars for questionable cause.."

    Susan... Just because a war is 'questioned' doesn't mean the war is not just. Even an IDIOT can question a war.

    'An IDIOT will speak loudly about what the idiot thinks. A Wiseman will speak nothing about what he thinks.'

    I will go tell the Iraqi people who suffered under Saddam Hussein that Susan wants Saddam Hussein back in Power.

  6. Jeff it's interesting that you jumped from "questionable cause" to "Susan wants Saddam Hussein back in Power. What led you to that conclusion?