Part 2: FDR warned in 1935 that Social Welfare Program could become narcotic-like

April 26, 2012

Part 2:  Failed War on Poverty Calls For ‘Practicable’ Reform

Bringing the welfare story closer to home, much money has been poured into the Southside of Chicago, yet it’s not fit to live in, with out-of-control shooting in the area.  109 people have been murdered so far this year.

On April 6 Bill O’Reilly on his Fox TV show spotlighted violent crime in the Windy City with a “Watters’ World Segment.” 

During the exchange Jesse Watter related that Chicago is three times more deadly than any other city in the nation.  There was agreement in that money is not enough.  It’s going to take family-to-family, block-to-block to not only bring the crime down but raise the value of life.

When asked by O’Reilly how Watter felt while waking the streets, Watter commented:  “It’s out of control.  I was safe though.  I said should I be scared?  And they said we don’t shoot white people you’re our biggest customer.”…   

The urgency of reforming Social Security and Medicare was brought home in stark reality on Tuesday, April 24, with a report by Noam N. Levey in the Chicago Tribune Business Section which  told how the nation’s Social Security and Medicare programs are siding closer to insolvency. 

Medicare is expected to start operating in the red in 2024, while Social Security will be unable to fulfill its obligations in 2033, three years earlier than projected last year.

Republicans have twice in the last two years pushed legislation to largely privatize Medicare.  Republicans are also pushing to raise the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 64 in another move to contain costs, while President Obama and his allies of Capitol have largely resisted any reforms.…  

Considering that Medicare faces an unfunded liability of $38.6 trillion, and that the unfunded benefits Medicare is expected to pay over the next 75 years equals $328,404.43 for each household (as indicated by the Census bureau in 2010), will legislators keep pushing the problem down a roadway which will soon lead directly off a cliff?

If Tuesday’s, April 24 Medicare Trustees report wasn’t sufficient enough to instill fear in legislators over the massive amount of unfunded Medicare liability they are piling on future generation, then consider the following report by Michael Tanner, director of health and welfare studies at the Cato Institute, published on April 11, 2012?  The American Welfare State, How We Spend Nearly $1 Trillion a Year Fighting Poverty — and Fail. 

In noting how the poverty rate has risen to 15.1 percent of Americans, the highest level in nearly a decade, Tanner informs how the unpresidented poverty rate has set off a predictable round of calls for increased government spending on social welfare programs.  According to Michael Tanner, “The United States spends nearly $1 trillion every year to fight poverty.  That amounts to $20,610 for every poor person in America, or $61,830 per poor family of three.”

Tanner goes on to say:  “Despite nearly $15 trillion in total welfare spending since Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty in 1964, the poverty rate is perilously close to where we began more than 40 years ago.   Throwing money at the problem has neither reduce poverty, nor made the poor self-sufficeint.” 

It is way past time for legislators to reevaluate their approach to fighting poverty.  The focus should be less on making poverty more comfortable and more on creating the prosperity that will get people out of poverty.

For those who believe that Social Security is a given and that the government can never take it away from you, better beware!   One of the least known facts about Social Security is that although the government does have a moral obligation to pay Social Security benefits to those who have earned them, the government does not have a legal obligation to do so.  

The United States Supreme Court ruled in 1960 that nobody has a “contractual earned right“ to Social Security benefits.  Accordingly, Congreess seems to have the right to do whatever is wants to do with regard to changing or even eliminating Social Security.

It’s your taxpayer money.  You should care how it’s spent.  Yes, a safety net is needed, but not one that is endless and becomes self-defeating to those to whom the help is provided.

If our legislators ever do quit their bickering and do what is best for the people instead of their re-election, they might heed this old Chinese proverb in dealing with welfare reform:

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.…



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