In the previous post, which is about what the Bible does and doesn't say about wealth and poverty, the conversation kept straggling off to the topic of US poverty, which is an important topic, but not necessarily the topic of that post. So now, with the topic of Poverty in the US in mind, and as a means of starting the conversation, I offer what seem to me to be some myths (or at least troubling premises) often espoused by the Right about US poverty.
Myth 1. Welfare increases poverty.
Before our modern welfare state, the US suffered a great deal under the ill-effects of what I would call poverty. A history of welfare in America is also its history of poverty: the more, the less. Rather than repeat what has been written elsewhere, I'll refer you to a link on this topic.
Myth 2. Social workers, mental health advocates and other helper agencies are wimpy enablers.
In fact, the role of social workers is to enable people to be as self-sufficient as they possibly can be. In order to do this, they help set strict parameters for getting out of negative habits. Doesn't always work and, sure, there may be some "helpers"out there that end up enabling, but that only points to the need to improve a difficult job rather than end it.
Myth 3. It is wrong to take money from innocent wage-earners to fund what some think is a biblical imperative. [Okay, not actually a myth, but a mistaken notion.]
Taxation, in our context, is exactly the process of taking money from innocent wage-earners to fund what a majority of representatives deem responsible (or, more cynically, what a majority of representatives have been TOLD to vote for by their corporate masters). Those on the left and probably most on the right agree that taxes shouldn't be used to fund what some think is a biblical imperative. In fact, it is usually those on the right who tend to try to do this. To suggest that I'm suggesting this is a misrepresentation of my position.
[And when it comes to taking money from wage-earners, I would like to point out that there is a MUCH greater amount of money taken from innocent us to fund the military than assistance programs. So, it is not the notion of spending money that Conservatives have a problem with - they do that more than anyone, with the assistance of the Democrats usually.]
But back to the topic: Those on the left tend to believe that, while an individual or group may have a biblical foundation for what they believe, that we should only push as government policy what we can make a logical argument for (not a biblical one).
So, while I have a biblical foundation for what I believe about assistance for the poor, for instance, that is not part of my civic reasoning for policy-making. Instead, in the case of poverty (or, assisting those struggling in the US, if you don't like the term "poverty"), I would argue that it is fiscally responsible (a conservative notion?) to invest in good education, assisting people out of poverty, keeping families together where reasonably possible (at a cost of $x) instead of paying down the road to house prisoners, to deal with the ill-effects of poverty, to deal with drug abuse, to decrease abortion (at a cost of $2x).
I'll own up that I don't know the numbers off the top of my head. The above-linked article delves in to this topic somewhat. If it is debatable to you whether it is cheaper to deal with poverty later rather than earlier, then we can get to the specifics of What costs How Much...
Repond, s'il vous plait.