Sunday, February 1, 2009

When I was younger and stupid(er)...

There has been a very interesting, and entertaining, thread on the TeamPaulC mail list. It basically ended with Andy saying that it’s too heated and so he is not discussing it any more. Sadly, it was NOT heated, although my attempt at humor MAY have offended some people, it WAS pretty funny. :)

However, Andy was right to call it quits, it was not going anywhere and it turned into a war of ideologies. But it made me think, and unfortunately I wrote it down, and here is my final reply to that thread.

Thanks Andrew and Linda.

We all did it, when we were young, we thought that we had all the answers. Really, what we had was an ideology based on how our parents raised us. Our ideology either was in step with our parents, or radically opposed. Over time it (hopefully) changes as we see how the world REALLY is and we decide on our own what to believe based on our own thoughts, not based on what our parents believed.

When I was young, I was certain that if we just said “NO!” to welfare the problem would be resolved. Yes, we would have a single generation that we would have to flush, but the NEXT generation would see that and strive to do better. Like I said, I was young and stupid. Now I see the folly of my youth. The fact is that almost everyone that I know has benefited from welfare, but lets just focus on my first hand knowledge.

When I was very young living in (depressed) rural Minnesota, I recall that we used food stamps, not because we WANTED to, but because we HAD to. One day my step mom made me a tuna fish sandwich for lunch, Pat saw it and said that he wanted one too, she said “No, there isn’t enough and look at how skinny Paulie is.” That REALLY happened. That really bugs me Pat, and I am sorry that it happened.

At the same time, I was not doing well in school and needed some help so I went to “transition”, the precursor to “headstart”. I got the help that I needed, but it set me back a year. Apparently, the help stuck because I ended up skipping fourth grade and that put me back to where I should be. Of course, at that point, we were living with theMom and her newly minted husband theDad and while I certainly cannot speak for Melanie and Pat, my life went from night to day and I am eternally grateful.

Many years later, I bought my first house and the government gave me a tax break, a slightly lower interest rate, and I did not have to put down as big a down payment. All forms of welfare.

Where would I be today without those programs? I am not sure, but it would not be as nice a place. Today I am a contributing member of society; I pay more taxes per year than Dad’s annual salary. I buy cars, clothes, computers, et cetera and that's what keeps the economy moving.

What is my point? Welfare is necessary, period. There are people that need help for whatever reason and it is our humane duty to help them. If a person breaks their back in an accident they cannot just be left to die, we need to help. If a child is born to a crack whore and we do not intervene, then that child (almost certainly) will become a drain on society. If a family just CANNOT make ends meet, than we need to make sure that the children can eat and feel safe. Period. There is no “yeah but what about…” It just needs to happen. Will we loose some welfare money to unscrupulous individuals? Yes. Is that a bummer? Yes. And you know what, as soon as we clean up all of the corporate malfeasance and abuse of corporate welfare, we should get right on that.

I KNOW who reads my blog, and I KNOW your histories. You have all been in need of welfare from the government or your family at some point, so think long and hard before you reply to this and say “government is too big” or “taxes are too high”. Think about the single mother and her cold hungry children, think about the high school graduate that cannot afford college, think about the single mom trying to get an education to make a better life.


  1. You're right and I agree with everything you said. We do need a system that takes care of Americans who can't take care of themselves. The only caveat I will propose is that the system we have is broken. If you disagree, sit at the CVS drive-through window for a couple hours and see how many Escalade drivers hand over a Medicaid card.

    Like I said, I agree that we need to "promote the general wellfare" by making sure every citizen can afford some form of healthcare, but the government considers me poverty, and I pay for my own. Anybody who drives an Escalade shouldn't be on wellfare.

  2. I understand, and like I said, as soon as we fix the corporate welfare program, we should get right on this problem.

  3. [PaulC] "Many years later, I bought my first house and the government gave me a tax break, a slightly lower interest rate, and I did not have to put down as big a down payment. All forms of welfare.

    Where would I be today without those programs?"


    Probably employed. Sorry dude but everything that is going on today is the result of that sub-prime morgage scam. You were one of the people that used it to get a start, but then you probably didn't buy more house than you could afford either. Unfortunately many were not as responsible and as a resutl we have the mess we're in today.

    (Which btw has probably ended anybody getting that kind of break ever again, at least for the forseeable future anyway.)

    As for welfare itself I have no problem with helping out the stay-at-home mom who is now a widow because her husband had a heart attack and died. Absolutely, put her in school and get her out into the workforce. I have no problem with helping out the person who lost their job through no fault of their own. What I do have a problem with is people that make a career out of collecting welfare. Or those who pound out kids so they can stay on it. It's supposed to be a temporary hand to get you back on your feet, not a crutch for the rest of your life. Sorry but I lived next to one these types of people for years. They had the exact same apartment (2 family house) as we did, except she used to get everything paid for by the State. Food, rent, spending money, the whole shebang. Then she'd shack up with her boyfriend who was a contractor and making decent money. At the end of the day my parents were working their asses off to keep us where we were while these people just coasted along and had a better life than we did all at the courtesy of the State. Sorry, that doesn't float with me.

    As for corporate malfeasance, sure it needs to be dealt with, but it's not an excuse to not deal with welfare fraud at the same time. It's also a very touchy subject. People like that retard, Barney Frank, that had their hands in the roots of this disaster are calling for setting limits on the pay of corporate executives, not just the ones that accept TARP money (Which I have no problem with. If they're going to take public money to bail their company out then they have to submit to certain conditions in order to get it.) but also the rest of the private sector. Last time I checked we didn't like any of the countries that did that type of stuff.

  4. @Dragon.
    I agree.
    The only difference is that corporate welfare sucks down WAY more money than personal welfare fraud, so lets fix the big leak first.

  5. The problem we run into when we take away the corporate welfare is that they respond by downsizing the company. The result is that common slobs like me end up out of work while the company keep rolling along. Not saying that it doesn't need to be addressed, it just has to be done carefully so that we don't suffer too many unintended consequences which is usually the result of government intervention. At the moment I don't see anyone in power competent enough to do it right. Each of the morons currently involved seem determined to make things worse than they already are.

    But it's ok, it's still soon enough that they can screw up royally, blow trillions of dollars, not fix anything, and still blame it all on Bush. And people are still stupid enough to believe it.

    Btw, if you're interested I have an NY Times article that outlines all the mischief Charles Schumer (Democratic Senator from NY) has been up to. Turns out that Mr. "Man-of-the-People" has been in the pocket of Wall St. all along and has done quite a lot to help corporate America avoid proposed regulation for a long time. Some of which would have either avoided or at least lessened the scope of the current situation.