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The Story

In a recent article published on CNN.com, Matt Spalding described America’s social welfare programs as a catalyst for creating a culture of dependency in the U.S.

Here are some of Spalding’s thoughts which are mostly unrelated to the stats he uses to argue his point. Spalding says:

“These people aren’t necessarily dependent on government; many could live (and live well) without their Social Security check, Pell Grant, or crop subsidy.”

“The United States thrives because of a culture of opportunity that encourages work and disdains relying on handouts.”

“Under a culture of dependency, poverty becomes a trap, and recipients get stuck.”

My personal favorite:

“-by including work requirements and encouraging marriage (being raised in a married family significantly reduces a child’s chances of being in poverty) we’ll rekindle the American Dream for everyone.”

I must admit I laughed several times at that last one. But I digress, let’s dissect this crap. The stats are factual and they are subject to interpretation (that’s the part that an individual adds and relates to the stats but isn’t a part of the fact).

  • The statistics that Spalding uses to support his arguments:
  • The federal government has 69 social welfare programs.
  • Only 2 of the 69 programs require recipients to work for their benefit.
  • 78 million baby boomers will be entering retirement/Medicare eligible age in the next 15 years.
  • 49% of all households in the country have at least one person receiving federal benefits.
  • 67.3 million households received Temporary Assistance in 2010 which was an 8% increase from 2009.
  • Social welfare spending has been cut in half since 1996.

I wanted to list these stats because it helps keep them objective and allows us to draw objective conclusions rather than spilling them through subjective commentary in order to persuade readers (as Spalding does in his article).

The Problem

Many of the federal government social welfare programs such as food stamps and unemployment benefits are focused on addressing the issues people face when they are unexpectedly faced with unemployment which means they were working and are no longer able due to circumstances beyond their control (because unemployment disqualifies individuals who are terminated due to job performance. So perhaps that is the reason only 2 programs require work while the others do not.

I apologize to Spalding for the fact that the baby boomers are not immortal. I think they were hoping to be, but they are aging and unless we round then up and put them down like useless work animals, they’ll be here and they will need some assistance.

The U.S. unemployment rare was 9.6% in 2010 with 18 states reporting an unemployment rate of 10% or above. Perhaps this would contribute to the 8% increase in people needing and receiving Temporary Assistance.

And since the welfare spending apparently continues to decrease, it would seem that that can’t possibly attribute to our culture of dependency. I mean that’s just deductive logic.

The Point

The fact of the matter is that Spalding is obviously a fiscal conservative, which is fine; however, the $16 trillion dollar national debt is not due to social welfare (that again continues to decrease in funding). Also, Spalding is completely out of touch with modern America. He’s still believing in the American Dream which long ago has been exposed as an American Delusion. He has somehow come to believe that perpetuating American fascism will restore some list glory. In truth, that glory only ever existed for the 2% of the country who have obtained significant wealth and lobby to keep it while the other 98% percent long for it and will never be able to obtain it. Screw the American Dream, let’s deal with the American reality.

The Series

The above mentioned article inspired me to start a series that truly begins to talk about the culture of dependency in America. The truth is not that people want to be dependent on government assistance; it’s that this capitalist country with its economic model built on competition (while everyone doesn’t even have access to the same resources) is creating a culture that cannot survive without being dependent on the government at some point in their lives (for some all their lives).

I’m not sayin; I’m just sayin,

An Angry Black Man

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