Archive for the ‘Charity vs. Welfare’ Category
The Real Legacy of Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s Iron Lady
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So long, Maggie! Say “Hi” to Ronnie for us! You’ll be missed!
Mrs. Thatcher’s predecessor as prime minister, the amiable but forgotten Sunny Jim Callaghan, once confided to a friend of mine that he thought Britain’s decline was irreversible and that the government’s job was to manage it as gracefully as possible. By 1979, even this modest aim seemed beyond the capabilities of the British establishment, and the nation turned to a woman who was one of the few even in a supposedly “conservative” party not to subscribe to the Callaghan thesis. She reversed the decline, at home and overseas.
[S]he understood that the biggest threat to any viable future for Britain was a unionized public sector that had awarded itself a lifestyle it wasn’t willing to earn. So she picked a fight with it, and made sure she won. In the pre-Thatcher era, union leaders were household names, mainly because they were responsible for everything your household lacked. Britain’s system of government was summed up in the unlovely phrase “beer and sandwiches at Number Ten” — which meant union grandees showing up at Downing Street to discuss what it would take to persuade them not to go on strike, and being plied with the aforementioned refreshments by a prime minister reduced to the proprietor of a seedy pub, with the Cabinet as his barmaids.
In 1990, when Mrs. Thatcher was evicted from office by her ingrate party’s act of matricide, the difference she’d made was such that in all the political panel discussions on TV that evening no producer thought to invite any union leaders. No one knew their names anymore.
What Reagan and Thatcher showed–and it is a lesson that may seem at odds with the conservative impulse that the private sector is the most significant–is what a difference political leadership can make. (Later Rudolph Giuliani showed the same thing–he was for urban policy what Reagan and Thatcher were for national policy.) They both inherited a mess: In Thatcher’s case she took over in 1979 following the “Winter of Discontent” when Britain was paralyzed by multiple strikes and high unemployment. As the Conservative advertising slogan had it, “Labour isn’t working.” Reagan, of course, took over from Jimmy Carter in the wake of the failed hostage-rescue mission and in the midst of a severe recession characterized by “stagflation.” Worst of all was a widespread loss of confidence in the future–both in Britain and America it was fashionable back then to imagine that the “the West” was finished and that the Soviet Union was ascendant.
Reagan and Thatcher would have none of it. Both were firmly outside the political and intellectual mainstream, and both were derided as simpletons for imagining that they could reverse the course of history. But that is precisely what they did–Reagan with his tax cuts (helped by Fed chairman Paul Volcker’s anti-inflationary policy) and defense spending increases which, respectively, revived the economy and restored our military power; Thatcher with her income-tax cuts, budget cuts, interest-rate hikes and her willingness to stand up to the unions, all of which revived the British economy, and her willingness to fight Argentina for the Falkland Islands, which restored British confidence.
[...] Thatcher’s challenge was all the greater given that so much of the Conservative Party remained “wet”–i.e., skeptical of her conservative principles. Eventually it was not the political opposition but her own party which toppled her, leading to a long period of Conservative wandering in the wilderness, punctuated by uninspiring rule first by John Major and now by David Cameron, neither of whom will ever be mentioned in the same breath as the Iron Lady.
Like Reagan, Thatcher was vindicated by history–and just as Reagan was praised by Bill Clinton, so she was praised by Tony Blair. She will be remembered as the greatest female ruler since Queen Elizabeth I and the greatest British prime minister since Winston Churchill.
Even as the Obama White House prepares for a star-studded White House concert featuring Queen Latifah, Cyndi Lauper, and Justin Timberlake, figures from the U.S. Census Bureau reveal that roughly 50 million Americans—one in six—now live below the poverty line.
Additionally, one in five American children have fallen below the poverty line; the last time poverty levels were this high, Lyndon Baines Johnson was president.
“In the last three years, there’s been a great change in the kinds of people we are serving,” said Director of Community Services at Catholic Charities of Baltimore Mary Anne O’Donnell. “There are increasing numbers of people who owned a home, lost their jobs, end up living in their car and are coming with children to our soup kitchen.”
The U.S. government defines a family of four earning under $23,021 as living in poverty. Income used to compute poverty status does not include non-cash benefits, such as food stamps and housing subsidies.
Welfare program enrollments have exploded under President Barack Obama. Americans on food stamps now outnumber the combined populations of 24 U.S. states, costing taxpayers more than double the amount spent on food stamps five years ago. In January 2009, 31.9 million Americans received food stamps. Today, that figure is 47.79 million.
Every year, the federal government spends well over a trillion dollars more than it takes in. As a result, it has racked up seventeen trillion dollars in debt, most of it in the last decade. In seven years at current rates, the U.S. will need almost a fifth of the GDP from the rest of the world just to finance our national debt.
Just two of our federal entitlements, Medicare and Social Security, have “unfunded future liabilities” of $46.2 trillion. Total liabilities are $86.8 trillion or more. Entitlements and other mandatory spending will burden more and more of the federal budget in the coming years. At today’s burn rate, before long no realistic amount of tax revenue will be able to service the debt and fund the government’s basic functions.
We need not worry about the federal government defaulting, since, unlike U.S. states or private citizens, it can print the money it needs to pay the bills. It can and will do so if we don’t make a course correction fast. Massive monetary expansion will ultimately devalue every dollar in circulation and trigger the sort of hyperinflation that flattens entire societies in short order. That’s bad enough, but when government borrows and spends for our supposed benefit, somebody else will have to foot some or all of the bill. If our faith applies to every aspect of life, then it must have something to say about this moral outrage.
[...] In the twentieth century, more than a hundred million people were murdered by their own governments. And that was just in communist countries. History and scripture agree: because of sin, governments with too much power become propagators of evil and destruction.
This speaks directly to government debt, since deficit spending is a symptom of government doing more than it can or should. The federal government now borrows and spends with such reckless abandon that it is careening toward a global economic catastrophe. If Christians can’t muster the courage to speak out against what Rep. Paul Ryan has called “the most predictable debt crisis in history,” we won’t deserve to be taken seriously after the collapse.
Sadly, many Christians don’t know how to disciple our nation to turn the tide because they’ve never studied God’s design for economics or the Biblical role of government. They can’t teach what they don’t know. The key to real reformation, says R.C. Sproul, Jr., is for Christians to understand and work to implement Biblical economic principles:
Christian author and teacher R.C. Sproul, Jr. told CBN News Anchor Lee Webb that he believes it’s time to return to the basics when it comes to economics.
“When we’re left arguing about whether or not we should have a marginal tax rate of 45 percent or 48 percent, and the conservative is stuck arguing for the 45 percent we’ve had an insufficient reformation in our thinking,” Sproul said.
Sproul believes that reformation will happen only when we return to scripture to see what God has to say about economics. That’s why he produced a video series called “Economics for Everybody.” It’s a compelling, even entertaining approach to a topic many find boring.
[...] Sproul provides historical evidence that nations most influenced by biblical Christianity are nations that, by and large, have prospered. They are nations marked by decentralized governments and free markets.
But nations that reject God are marked by centralized power, tyranny, and no free markets. Unfortunately, he said he has observed some of those troubling trends in America now.
“The United States is not a free market. It’s an interventionist economy that’s been moving closer to socialism for over a century now,” he said. “I am not optimistic about our nation’s future economically.”
“We live in a country in which the state forbids me to hire a man unless I promise to pay him X number of dollars,” Sproul explained. “We now live in a country where I can’t hire 50 men unless I promise to buy them all health insurance, including access to abortion.”
“This is not economic liberty. This is not free markets,” he said. “We’re missing the fact that we’re the frog and the water is boiling.”
That’s why Sproul believes it’s not enough to think conservatively. We must think biblically and train our children biblically.
“It’s my conviction that education is always and everywhere religious,” he said.
“And it’s not a surprise that when 80 percent of evangelical parents have their children in the government’s schools that they’re going to embrace the religion of the government which is the worship of the state,” he said.
Sproul cautioned Christians to avoid despair. One way to do that is by returning to the beginning, to the Creation Mandate and begin to see that our work is part of worship.
If you have never watched the “Economics For Everybody” series, I highly recommend it! We cannot teach what we do not know!
Remember when Obama made this statement?
“Let me be exactly clear about what health care reform means to you…if you’ve got health insurance, you like your doctors, you like your plan, you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan. Nobody is talking about taking that away from you.”
I’ll put it this way: if it begins with “let me be clear,” it’s guaranteed to be a lie. “Let me clear” is code for, “make sure you listen to my whitewash talking points to hide what’s REALLY going on.”
Now, four years later, Stephen Dinan at The Washington Times reports what we all knew was coming:
President Obama’s health care law will push 7 million people out of their job-based insurance coverage — nearly twice the previous estimate, according to the latest estimates from the Congressional Budget Office released Tuesday.
CBO said that this year’s tax cuts have changed the incentives for businesses and made it less attractive to pay for insurance, meaning fewer will decide to do so. Instead, they’ll choose to pay a penalty to the government, totaling $13 billion in higher fees over the next decade.
What liberals call “compassion” actually ends up destroying the very people they claim to want to help. The evidence is crystal clear. If they REALLY cared about poverty, they would change their policies to ones that actually work. But they don’t. Because all they REALLY care about is staying in power – and keeping people in a position where bribing them with government hand-outs guarantees their votes is too beneficial a racket to dispense with.
It was under Johnson, who championed the “Great Society” in the 1960s, that a good portion of the runaway government spending we are trying to get under control today originated.
Johnson signed into law Medicare, Medicaid, the War on Poverty programs, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Moyers recounted that for Johnson, Social Security and Medicare “were about a lot more than economics.”
He recalls a time when the Johnson administration was supporting retroactive increases in Social Security payments. Moyers said he argued for the increases as economic stimulus. But Johnson called him and said:
“My inclination would be … that it ought be retroactive as far back as you can get it … because none of them ever get enough. That they are entitled to it. That’s an obligation of ours. It’s just like your mother writing you and saying she wants $20, and I always sent mine $100 when she did. I always did it because I thought she was entitled to it. … We do know that it affects the economy. But that’s not the basis to go to the Hill, or the justification. We’ve got to say that by God you can’t treat grandma this way. She’s entitled to it and we promised it to her.”
I don’t think we could have a clearer picture of Johnson’s muddled thinking about his job and the role of government, which contributed so much to the problems we have today.
Johnson’s words sound so wonderfully compassionate. But let’s get things in perspective.
He saw no difference in his relationship and responsibilities toward his own mother, and sending her his own money, and his responsibilities as president of the United States and the relationship of government to citizens.
There is a world of difference between the appropriate responsibility of parents toward their children and children toward their parents, and politicians deciding on how to spend someone else’s money for someone else’s children, parents or grandparents.
Johnson didn’t seem to grasp, or care, about the fact that family and government are two entirely different social institutions that serve very different purposes.
So the Johnson administration years marked not just the beginning of many huge government programs that we can’t pay for today, but they also marked a major cultural change where government began displacing family and personal responsibility.
It is no accident that as the American welfare state grew, the American family collapsed.
Contrary to the lies of “pro-choice” activists, the pro-life movement works to provide REAL choices for women: crisis pregnancy centers, adoption services, foster homes for unwed mothers, assistance for single mothers, counseling, and dozens of other services provided by people who care for both the baby AND the mother.
Liberal writers such as Matthew Yglesias are given to observing that pro-lifers believe that “life begins at conception and ends at birth.” At Commonweal, David Gibson, a journalist who frequently covers the abortion debate, asks how much pro-lifers do for mothers: “I just want to know what realistic steps they are proposing or backing. I’m not sure I’d expect to hear anything from pro-life groups now since there’s really been nothing for years.”
This lazy slander is as common as it is untrue. Of course, there is much more that needs to be done, but in the decades since Roe v. Wade, pro-lifers have taken the lead in offering vital services to mothers and infants in need. Operating with little support–and often actual opposition–from agencies, foundations, and local governments, pro-lifers have relied upon a network of committed donors and volunteers to make great strides in supporting mothers and their infants. It’s time the media takes notice.
In the United States there are some 2,300 affiliates of the three largest pregnancy resource center umbrella groups, Heartbeat International, CareNet, and the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA).
Over 1.9 million American women take advantage of these services each year. Many stay at one of the 350 residential facilities for women and children operated by pro-life groups. In New York City alone, there are twenty-two centers serving 12,000 women a year. These centers provide services including pre-natal care, STI testing, STI treatment, ultrasound, childbirth classes, labor coaching, midwife services, lactation consultation, nutrition consulting, social work, abstinence education, parenting classes, material assistance, and post-abortion counseling.
[...] If pro-life Americans provide so many (often free) services to the poor and vulnerable–work easily discovered by any researcher or journalist with an Internet connection–why are they sometimes accused of caring only for life inside the womb? Quite possibly, it is the conviction of abortion advocates that “caring for the born” translates first and always into advocacy for government programs and funds. In other words, abortion advocates appear to conflate charitable works and civil society with government action. The pro-life movement does not. Rather, it takes up the work of assisting women and children and families, one fundraiser and hotline and billboard at a time. Still, the pro-life movement is not unsophisticated about the relationship between abortion rates and government policies in areas such as education, marriage, employment, housing, and taxation. The Catholic Church, for example, works with particular vigor to ensure that its social justice agenda integrates advocacy for various born, vulnerable groups, with incentives to choose life over abortion.
One of the significant ironies of accusing pro-lifers of being “anti-vulnerable,” “anti-women,” and “anti-poor” is that poor women tend to be more pro-life than their more privileged counterparts. It is especially important, therefore, to offer them options that do not simply appeal to their economic interest or personal autonomy narrowly understood, but rather that accord with their moral outlook and overall wellbeing.
Isn’t it ironic that Obama is targeting private charities at the very time millions of Americans need them most – during the longest recession since the Great Depression, which has been exacerbated by his own policies?
Charities are competition to the Messianic Welfare State. If there’s one thing government demands, it’s absolute monopoly power over any area where it decides to stick it’s nose.
For nearly two years now, we have heard about the divide between wealthy America and the rest of us. We are told that the rich don’t pay their fair share in taxes. We hear that the wealthiest one percent run the country for their own benefit.
Whether you agree with this or not, there is no shortage of proposals in Washington targeted to address this sense of inequality. But my personal experience as a former corporate CEO and now as president of one of the country’s largest charities, is that many wealthy women and men are voluntarily bridging this gap through their charitable giving.
For nearly as long as the income tax has existed, the U.S. government has allowed individuals to deduct their giving from their taxes, recognizing that private organizations contribute to the common good and to economic growth. Our country does need to get its fiscal house in order, but policy makers need to be extremely careful in their zeal to find new government revenue. Raising taxes on the wealthy by taxing their giving is likely to hurt the poor the most.
Under any of the various proposals to remove or cap the charitable deduction, the government would be weakening charities and threatening to shred America’s safety net for the poor. With half of Americans either below the poverty line or considered to be “low income,” we are in a time when charities’ services are most urgently needed. Food banks are tapped out. Homeless shelters are full.
Any scheme to cap or reduce the charitable deduction will ultimately hurt our economy and those on its lowest rung. Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute and author of “Who Really Cares,” estimates that every dollar in charitable giving increases GDP by as much as $15. In addition, non-profit organizations employ 10 percent of the workforce.
It is clear that the proposals to limit the deduction will hurt giving. According to Independent Sector, a coalition of non-profits, removing the charitable deduction could cause a 36 percent decline in giving. Even the White House, which has proposed a cap on the amount the wealthy can deduct, agrees that such a move could cause a $10 billion decline in giving.
Unfortunately, rather than act as a deterrent, the fact that capping charitable deductions would hurt private charities is rather an incentive for those who worship at the altar of the Almighty Welfare State. They truly believe that if government was “doing its job,” private charities wouldn’t be necessary. They WANT to drive private charities out of business, so that everyone depends on their Utopian Nanny State.
As government grows, the private sector wanes, a situation created by the decline of strong families and abetted by progressive programs designed to make families irrelevant.
When it comes to serving the needy, there are two basic approaches. The first, inspired by Jesus Christ and required in the Old Testament, is sacrificial giving of oneself. This has been the cornerstone of American charity since the nation’s founding, and it remains the most effective way to assist the poor.
The diametrically opposite approach is socialism, in which income is forcibly seized and then redistributed to groups and individuals favored by government officials. Socialism is rooted in the formula from Karl Marx—“from each according to his abilities to each according to his needs.”
That’s a fine arrangement when voluntary, such as in families, churches and private charities. However, when imposed by force—and socialism is always accompanied by force since it violates human nature—it is soft tyranny masquerading as charity.
Since the 1930s, with the advent of the New Deal, the federal government, along with local and state governments, has taken on more and more functions that were handled by families and faith-based charities. Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society sent this into overdrive, and Barack Obama is intent on nailing America to a third-stage rocket into socialism.
Liberal Columnist Admits: Welfare Programs Offer Perverse Incentives To Reject Opportunity, Stay In Poverty
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has gone where few liberals dare to tread. He has discovered the undeniable evidence that the welfare state does, in fact, create perverse incentives and exacerbate the very problem it endeavors to cure: poverty.
THIS is what poverty sometimes looks like in America: parents here in Appalachian hill country pulling their children out of literacy classes. Moms and dads fear that if kids learn to read, they are less likely to qualify for a monthly check for having an intellectual disability.
Many people in hillside mobile homes here are poor and desperate, and a$698 monthly check per child from the Supplemental Security Income program goes a long way — and those checks continue until the child turns 18.
“The kids get taken out of the program because the parents are going to lose the check,” said Billie Oaks, who runs a literacy program here in Breathitt County, a poor part of Kentucky. “It’s heartbreaking.”
This is painful for a liberal to admit, but conservatives have a point when they suggest that America’s safety net can sometimes entangle people in a soul-crushing dependency. Our poverty programs do rescue many people, but other times they backfire.
[...] Most wrenching of all are the parents who think it’s best if a child stays illiterate, because then the family may be able to claim a disability check each month.
“One of the ways you get on this program is having problems in school,” notes Richard V. Burkhauser, a Cornell University economist who co-wrote a book last year about these disability programs. “If you do better in school, you threaten the income of the parents. It’s a terrible incentive.”
The question now is, will his fellow liberals see the light and acknowledge the desperate need to help people finally break free of welfare state dependency?
This is one of many reasons why private charities and local communities – NOT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT – should be responsible for disaster recovery.
President Obama’s $60.4 billion request for Hurricane Sandy relief has morphed into a huge Christmas stocking of goodies for federal agencies and even the state of Alaska, The Post has learned.
The pork-barrel feast includes more than $8 million to buy cars and equipment for the Homeland Security and Justice departments. It also includes a whopping $150 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to dole out to fisheries in Alaska and $2 million for the Smithsonian Institution to repair museum roofs in DC.
An eye-popping $13 billion would go to “mitigation” projects to prepare for future storms.
Other big-ticket items in the bill include $207 million for the VA Manhattan Medical Center; $41 million to fix up eight military bases along the storm’s path, including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; $4 million for repairs at Kennedy Space Center in Florida; $3.3 million for the Plum Island Animal Disease Center and $1.1 million to repair national cemeteries.
Budget watchdogs have dubbed the 94-page emergency-spending bill “Sandy Scam.”
The Senate bill bypassed the committee process and is coming straight to the floor, where Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, announced that he would allow amendments — though he said he hopes to speed the bill through the chamber “very quickly.”
“I think part of the reason they’re trying to move this fast is they don’t want too many people paying attention,” said Steve Ellis, vice president at Taxpayers for Common Sense. “There are clear needs that need to be met, there’s no doubt about that. Unfortunately, when you overreach you increase skepticism about the entire package.”
Heaven forbid anybody get a chance to actually READ it first!
Liberals don’t view private charities as a reflection of human generosity and community. They view them as evidence that the government isn’t meeting a need that they think it should. In their minds, if the government was doing “its job,” there would be no need for private charities because everyone’s needs would already be met by the state.
They see private charities as competition, and so they do everything they can to discourage more donations to that competition, and to push for forcible “donations” – i.e., taxes – to the welfare state they are designing to replace it.
Every year, religious institutions, charitable organizations and philanthropically inclined individuals and corporations give of their time, talents and financial resources to assist those in need. This benevolence is an essential part of the fabric of our country as well as a compelling reminder of the social welfare voluntarily produced by our free-market economy.
According to data compiled by the Atlas of Giving, Americans gave $346.1 billion to charity in 2011 — a 7.6 percent increase from the previous year. That’s an astounding figure when one considers that median household income declined by 1.3 percent last year after adjusting for inflation.
Americans help those in need — even when times are tough. In the process, they generate a nonprofit economy that accounts for nearly 6 percent of our gross domestic product and 10 percent of our workforce, according to the latest data from the National Center for Charitable Statistics.
This is why it is so disturbing to see the Obama administration continue to attack this spirit of generosity — and the nonprofit economy it supports — as part of an effort to expand the public-sector welfare state.
After failing to limit charitable deductions last year, the administration is once again targeting private-sector giving as part of the “fiscal cliff” negotiations, seeking to generate billions of dollars in new government revenue by capping tax breaks for charitable donations.
President Obama isn’t alone, either. According to reporter Naftali Bendavid of The Wall Street Journal, there is a “growing Washington consensus that tax deductions should be mined to raise fresh revenue.”
Naturally, such a cap would result in less charitable giving and cause job losses in the nonprofit sector. Mr. Obama isn’t worried about that. After all, the less money the private sector is able to donate to the needy, the closer the president moves us toward a public-sector monopoly on welfare.
The Tragedy Of America’s Welfare State: Head Of A Household Making Minimum Wage Has More Disposable Income Than A Family Making $60K A Year
Any of you Christian Socialists want to explain to me how this is supposedly moral and Biblical?
Tonight’s stunning financial piece de resistance comes from Wyatt Emerich of The Cleveland Current. In what is sure to inspire some serious ire among all those who once believed Ronald Reagan that it was the USSR that was the “Evil Empire”, Emmerich analyzes disposable income and economic benefits among several key income classes and comes to the stunning (and verifiable) conclusion that “a one-parent family of three making $14,500 a year (minimum wage) has more disposable income than a family making $60,000 a year.” And that excludes benefits from Supplemental Security Income disability checks. America is now a country which punishes those middle-class people who not only try to work hard, but avoid scamming the system. Not surprisingly, it is not only the richest and most audacious thieves that prosper – it is also the penny scammers at the very bottom of the economic ladder that rip off the middle class each and every day, courtesy of the world’s most generous entitlement system. Perhaps if Reagan were alive today, he would wish to modify the object of his once legendary remark.
You can do as well working one week a month at minimum wage as you can working $60,000-a-year, full-time, high-stress job.
My chart tells the story. It is pretty much self-explanatory.
Stunning? Just do it yourself.Almost all welfare programs have Web sites where you can call up “benefits calculators.” Just plug in your income and family size and, presto, your benefits are automatically calculated.
The chart is quite revealing. A one-parent family of three making $14,500 a year (minimu wage) has more disposable income than a amily making $60,000 a year.
And if that wasn’t enough, here is one that will blow your mind:If the family provider works only one week a month at minimum wage, he or she makes 92 percent as much as a provider grossing $60,000 a year.
Is it any wonder why some people have decided it’s easier to just stop looking for work altogether?
Exactly two years ago, some of the more politically biased progressive media outlets (who are quite adept at creating and taking down their own strawmen arguments, if not quite as adept at using an abacus, let alone a calculator) took offense at our article “In Entitlement America, The Head Of A Household Of Four Making Minimum Wage Has More Disposable Income Than A Family Making $60,000 A Year.” In it we merely explained what has become the painful reality in America: for increasingly more it is now more lucrative – in the form of actual disposable income – to sit, do nothing, and collect various welfare entitlements, than to work. This is graphically, and very painfully confirmed, in the below chart from Gary Alexander, Secretary of Public Welfare, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (a state best known for its broke capital Harrisburg). As quantitied, and explained by Alexander, “the single mom is better off earnings gross income of $29,000 with $57,327 in net income & benefits than to earn gross income of $69,000 with net income and benefits of $57,045.”
We realize that this is a painful topic in a country in which the issue of welfare benefits, and cutting (or not) the spending side of the fiscal cliff, have become the two most sensitive social topics. Alas, none of that changes the matrix of incentives for most Americans who find themselves in a comparable situation: either being on the left side of minimum US wage, and relying on benefits, or move to the right side at far greater personal investment of work, and energy, and… have the same disposable income at the end of the day.
I still can’t believe that people voted for four more years of this insanity.
More Americans will use food stamps to buy their Thanksgiving dinner this year than ever before, according to a new report from the nonprofit government watchdog group The Sunlight Foundation.
[...] According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, average participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamp program, has increased 70 percent since 2007. And economists have warned that usage of food stamps won’t go down until unemployment improves.
This Thanksgiving, 42.2 million Americans will be on food stamps, according to the Economic Policy Institute. This is roughly the size of the populations of California and Connecticut combined.
Food pantries are also being overwhelmed with increasing demand:
Assistant UM Professor of Social Work Kristen Seefeldt stated, according to local reports, that “researchers were shocked by the high levels of food insecurity, with nearly 28 percent of people interviewed did not have stable, reliable access to food or were forced to change their eating habits for financial reasons.” Some people, says Seefeldt, are skipping meals; that included many people with a job.
A few hundred miles to the East, Boston is running out of giveaway turkeys for the poverty-stricken. Three days in advance of Thanksgiving, the Pear Street Cupboard and Café in Framingham, Massachusetts, is out of turkeys. According to organizers, “requests for help are up 400 percent over last year.”
Moving south a few hundred miles, New York City food pantries and soup kitchens are shutting down at record rates thanks to overburden. One in four food pantries and soup kitchens have gone dark since 2007. “We’ve seen that food shortages are more commonplace and occur more broadly in our network and when people are turned away from a food pantry or a soup kitchen, it is most commonly due to a lack of food,” said Triada Stampas of the Food Bank for New York City. That was before Hurricane Sandy.
This is what liberals call “compassion”…all focused on good intentions, with no willingness to acknowledge the harmful consequences of bad policies.
Moral Relativism and an unwillingness to acknowledge the most basic standards of absolute right and wrong have led our nation down a destructive path that can only end in war, economic collapse, or both. Only revival can save our nation now.
I know that I’m supposed to say that God is in control and that we should simply pray for our president and put our faith and trust in the sovereignty of God, but I’m not going to.
[F]or those who seek to live according to the Word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit, these astonishing election results should cause us to fall to our knees and grieve for our nation. Colorado has legalized recreational use of marijuana, while Massachusetts, Maryland, and Oregon have approved it for medical usage. Maine, Maryland, and Washington have legalized homosexual marriage. And Massachusetts has also joined Oregon and Washington in allowing euthanasia. It has become clear that in every instance where Biblical values were up for a vote, the American people have chosen to reject them. This election goes so much deeper than just who was elected president for the next four years. This election was a barometer of the soul of America, and America is in critical condition.
Yes, we are. James Lewis laments:
[T]he balance of decency in America has changed. Every society has normal, decent people and the other kind. The America we grew up in was fundamentally decent. Decency was the expected standard.
Now the balance has changed.
The evidence for our sleazified culture can be seen all around. It is in our pop music, which has lost melody and now just has rhythm. We have a President who won on revenge against middle class values. That’s what he meant by telling his people to vote for revenge. And they did — showing us exactly who they are.
We are now a society divided between the makers and the takers, and the takers are on a campaign of theft and revenge.
We have a President who takes dangerous pride in his hatred for “middleclassness” as Jeremiah Wright taught him to believe. We have a President who culminated his campaign with a ghetto singer rapping about hoes and bitches, about drug-ridden and broken families, as if all those cruelties were good.
This is not normal, decent America.
It is not.
We need to face that.
Mark Steyn spoke in a recent interview about where America’s hedonistic entitlement mentality is leading us:
“We’re actually redistributing from the future to the present. We are borrowing money that is yet to be earned by generations yet to be born, in order to bribe people with the Obama phones and all the rest…”
Mark Steyn: American Dream Sinks To Bribing Voters With Free Stuff
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Walter E. Williams explains how our Moral Relativist society justifies deviant behavior, flaunting the rule of law and the constitution:
Much of today’s language usage demonstrates a desire to be nonjudgmental. People used to shack up; now they cohabit or are living partners. Few young women of yesteryear would have felt comfortable to publicly declare they slept around. Unmarried women used to give birth to a bastard; later, this was upgraded to an illegitimate birth or a nonmarital birth. In many instances, unwed mothers proudly hold baby showers celebrating their illegitimate offspring, and the man, if known, who sired the baby is referred to as “my baby’s daddy” or sometimes as “my baby daddy.”
Homosexual marriages, which are not a basic human survival trait, were unheard of; today, in some jurisdictions, homosexual marriages have legal sanction. To be judgmental about modern codes of conduct is to risk being labeled a prude, racist, sexist or a homophobe. People ignore the fact that to accept another’s right to engage in certain peaceable, voluntary behavior doesn’t require moral acceptance or sanction.
[...] Think back to former President Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky and the nation’s response that “it was just about sex.” Therefore, it was no big thing for the president and his men to become involved in witness tampering, perjury, obstruction of justice and a White House-organized attack on Kenneth Starr, an officer of the court. Most Americans thought removal from office was too harsh for Clinton’s lawlessness.
That kind of lawlessness helped establish a precedent for lawless acts by President Barack Obama. His most recent was an executive order that suspended legal liability for young people who are brought to our country illegally by their parents. He also repealed the legal requirement that welfare recipients must work, by simply redefining “work” to include other things, such as going to classes on weight control. Then there are waivers from Obamacare for favored allies — waivers that offend the principle of equality before the law.
Whether the president’s actions were good or bad ideas or not is irrelevant. What’s relevant is whether we want to establish a precedent whereby a president, who has no constitutional authority to repeal parts of congressional legislation, can grant special favors and rule by presidential decree like Third World tyrants.
I don’t hold President Obama completely responsible for his unconstitutional actions. It’s the American people who are to blame, for it is we who have lost our morality and our love, knowledge and respect for our Constitution, laying the foundation for Washington tyranny.
Gary DeMar explains how the Messianic Welfare State has become an idol in many American’s lives:
The paternal state not only feeds its children, but nurtures, educates, comforts, and disciplines them, providing all they need for their security. This appears to be a mildly insulting way to treat adults, but it is really a great crime because it transforms the state from being a gift of God, given to protect us against violence, into an idol. It supplies us with all blessings, and we look to it for all our needs. Once we sink to that level, as [C.S.] Lewis says, there is no point in telling state officials to mind their own business. “Our whole lives are their business.”
The paternalism of the state is that of the bad parent who wants his children dependent on him forever. That is an evil impulse. The good parent prepares his children for independence, trains them to make responsible decisions, knows that he harms them by not helping them to break loose. The paternal state thrives on dependency. When the dependents free themselves, it loses power. It is, therefore, parasitic on the very persons whom it turns into parasites. Thus, the state and its dependents march symbiotically [in close union with one another] to destruction.
Is there hope yet? David Jesse thinks so:
[...] Throughout history, God has always chosen to work through weak, frail, inadequate human beings who are willing to give Him whatever they have, and allow Him to use that for His glory and purposes. But for too long now, the Church in America has sat back and made excuses for our laziness and apathy by saying, “God’s in control.” And while I fully believe that God IS in control, I realize that He has chosen to limit Himself to a great extent by what He can do through His people. We can no longer afford to bury our heads in the sand, hoping for things to get better. It’s time for God’s people to rise up.
[...] We need revival. And revival never comes to an apathetic people. In fact, revival most often comes to a people suffering from persecution. It is during persecution that God’s people take their eyes off of their own frivolous desires and petty differences, and return to simple faith in God based upon hearing and obeying His Word. And let me assure you, persecution is coming. The virtual prison of political correctness, tolerance, and celebrating diversity, will soon move into a radical agenda that attempts to silence the voices of those who speak out against sin and the evil that dwells in the hearts of men. Those who refuse to be silenced will be branded as religious extremists and relegated to the fringes of society. Two of our most sacred rights as Americans – Freedom of Religion, and Freedom of Speech – will be chipped away at until we will no longer recognize the country that we were born in.
But in that persecution is the hope that awaits America. As the persecution grows, the Church will be forced to return to God’s principles of love, obedience, justice, holiness, compassion, truth, and faithfulness. The Church in America will once again become the salt and light that Jesus told us we are supposed to be. And when all is said and done, I believe that revival will come to America. And that revival can spread to the world.
Staten Island Resident: We Are Alone Out Here…Where Is The Help?
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Storm victims continue to suffer due to government incompetency and failure to to personally prepare for a disaster. Learn from their misfortune and be prepared to take care of yourself and your loved ones in case of emergencies!
As lights have begun flickering on in Lower Manhattan, residents of the Rockaways in Queens continued struggling without power, heat or food for a sixth day as their neighborhood slowly descended into chaos.
[...] Along with mounting safety concerns, homeowners in the beachfront community hit hard by Hurricane Sandy that has left 109 dead continued to face hunger, complaining that federal officials have left them to fend for themselves.
[...] Most of the grocery stores in the area have not reopened since the storm, and the neighborhood has been left cut off from the rest of the city, with no trains or even shuttle buses servicing the residents.
Stranded neighbors largely have been relying on volunteers delivering food, water and other basic necessities while the Red Cross and FEMA were still nowhere in sight.
‘We can’t exist,’ said Ann Manning. ‘We can’t buy milk. We can’t buy cereal. We can’t buy nothing.’
As they scrape round desperately for food and are forced to use their gas hobs to keep warm, many claim they are the forgotten victims of Sandy.
The Borough President of Staten Island called the reaction of Red Cross – or lack thereof – to the devastation caused by Sandy an ‘absolute disgrace’.
[...] In a Coney Island apartment block, where tenants huddle together in one room and human waste spills out of the toilet, tenant Jeffery Francis despairs that help is not getting to Brooklyn faster.
We are scavenging for food like animals,’ he told the New York Daily News. ‘We are in a crisis and no one will help us. Look at us. We are misery. Everyone cares about Manhattan. No one is looking out for us. Nothing.’
At another apartment where power is still out, residents are out of food and praying for help. Albert Miller, 58, told the paper: ‘One person found a sandwich and we split it four ways.’
Another lesson in personal responsibility: be prepared to defend yourself:
When night falls in the Rockaways, the hoods come out.
Ever since Sandy strafed the Queens peninsula and tore up the boardwalk, it’s become an often lawless place where cops are even scarcer than electrical power and food. Locals say they are arming themselves with guns, baseball bats, booby traps — even a bow and arrow — to defend against looters.
Thugs have been masquerading as Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) workers, knocking on doors in the dead of night. But locals say the real workers have been nowhere in sight, causing at least one elected official — who fears a descent into anarchy if help doesn’t arrive soon — to call for the city to investigate the utility.
Further exacerbating desperate conditions, it could take at least a month to repair the the bridge that connects the Rockaways to the city subway system, officials said.
“We booby-trapped our door and keep a baseball bat beside our bed,” said Danielle Harris, 34, rummaging through donated supplies as children rode scooters along half-block chunk of the boardwalk that had marooned into the middle of Beach 91st St.
“We heard gunshots for three nights in a row,” said Harris, who believed they came from the nearby housing projects.
Carly Ruggieri, 27, who lives in water-damaged house on the block, said she barricades her door with a bed frame. “There have been people in power department uniforms knocking on doors and asking if they’re okay, but at midnight.”
And another local surfer said he has knives, a machete and a bow and arrow on the ready. Gunshots and slow-rolling cars have become a common fixture of the night since Hurricane Sandy.
“I would take a looter with a boa. If I felt threatened I would definitely use it,” said Keone Singlehurst, 42. “Its like the Wild West. A borderline lawless situation.”
Despite the lack of law and order and NYPD stretched beyond capacity, Mayor Bloomberg is refusing to allow the National Guard into needy areas of the city. The reason? Because they carry guns (oh, the horror)!
Earth to Bloomberg: the National Guard are the GOOD GUYS! I’m sure that unarmed citizens barricading their doors with mattresses and baseball bats would rather have a National Guardsman on patrol than unchecked looters running amok!
This is a recipe for bankruptcy, and we’ve known it was coming for decades. Politicians made promises they knew were financially impossible to keep when they made them, and still they lured millions of Americans into dependency on this system.
If a private company had operated like this, they’d all be going to jail! And liberals call this scheme “compassionate”??
The combined number of people enrolled in Medicaid and Medicare–the government health-care programs for the poor, disabled and elderly–now exceeds the number of full-time private sector workers in the United States.
In 2011, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), there were 70.4 million people who enrolled in Medicaid for at least one month. There were also 48.849 million people enrolled in Medicare. That gave Medicaid and Medicare a gross combined enrollment of 119.249 million in 2011.
At the same time, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 112,556,000 people worked full-time in the United States in 2011. Of these 112,556,000 full-time workers, 17,806,000 worked for government (at the federal, state or local level) and 94,750,000 worked for the private sector.
The gross combined enrollment of 119.249 million in Medicaid and Medicare in 2011 outnumbered the 112.556 million full-time workers employed in both the private sector and in government in 2011.