Jasmine Ci’erra Davis
In the United States, a family of four with an annual income of 21,954 or less is considered poor. I, along with my mother and three brothers, have lived below the poverty line for all of my life. I am not a stuffy conservative born with a silver spoon in my mouth that does not understand the plight of the poor (African-Americans or otherwise). Although, I was raised on welfare, food stamps and other government assistance programs, I have never agreed with the concept of taking from one man to give to another. I learned from an early age that the best way to help some is to let them help themselves. In certain instances, it is necessary for someone to step in and help the lower class, but that person should not be the government.
Prior to 1932, poor people received help from their families as well as voluntary charity. During the Great Depression, unemployment spiked to 22.3 percent; nearly one-quarter of Americans were without jobs due to failures of banks and businesses. Roosevelt enacted “temporary relief programs” to help the unemployed and uninsured. These temporary programs however, became a permanent fixture in American society.
Not only has temporary assistance programs continued since 1932, but they have grown substantially, thanks to presidents such as Lyndon B. Johnson, who introduced Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960’s. These programs were not meant to be permanent fixtures in American society and therefore are adding billions of dollars to the already bursting deficit. Federal assistance programs (as they are now called), account for nearly one-half of the national deficit. That is a 50% increase since the 1960’s. The United States literally cannot afford to continue like this. With an elderly population on the rise, the federal government does not have the money to pay the Social Security it once promised.
The problem with federal assistance programs is that they cost the government money
Yet, does not contribute anything to economy. Unemployment, welfare, social security, health insurance, etc., all requires federal funding yet, no profit is being made therefore it is not beneficial to society as a whole. Another problem with these programs is that the government taxes the upper and middle classes, takes that money, and then gives it to the lower class. This is not reasonable, nor is it rational. Charity should be voluntary, not force-fed by the government. In America, you should not be allowed to steal from one person and give it to another and call it charity. It is time to find another way.
Within the last century, the government has taken on a parent-child relationship with its citizens. Whenever the people need something, it turns to the government to bail them out. We have seen this repeatedly throughout the last 100 years, more so within the last fifty years. Instead of constantly throwing money at its citizens to solve their problems temporarily, the government needs to teach the citizens to become dependent and rely on themselves. Instead of giving money to the unemployed, train them and help them find work. Instead of continuing to pay Social Security at the current rate, gradually age the citizens off of assistance. As long as the government continues to enable, the citizens will continue to partake, and the deficit will continue to increase until the national debt exceeds national GDP and the country is forced to file for bankruptcy. It is a bleak outcome that future generations will be forced to deal with if a solution is not found soon.
Jasmine Ci’erra Davis
Economics/ Management Major
International Business/Spanish Minor
Competitive Speech/Debate Team