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John Adams warned of this

February 25, 2013

To the editor: In 1787 John Adams, one of our country’s founding fathers, wrote a treatise called “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States....

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Mar-09-13 4:23 PM

MIT: Yes, but it certainly discourages me from taking your views seriously and responding to them.

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Mar-09-13 12:35 AM

Sven: The difference is, you never have difficulty telling where I really stand.

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Mar-08-13 5:20 PM

MIT: Odd, but I feel much the same about what you write.

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Mar-08-13 1:05 AM

Sven: Sometimes I honestly can't figure out which side of an issue you're on. Perhaps that is as you intend it, but it certainly discourages me from taking your views seriously or responding to them.

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Mar-07-13 10:44 PM

Ah, geez. Enough with the strict constitutionalist malarkey. Just have President Obama issue an Executive Order.

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Mar-07-13 1:34 PM

MNcommonsense: I notice that nowhere in your reasoning do you bring up the Constitution. The Constitution defines the relationship between the federal gov't and the civil society. It outlines certain specific functions that the federal gov't will perform, and then says that everything that is not included in those specific areas is reserved for the states and for private citizens. Support for the poor is not one of the federal gov't's emunerated functions.

It does not matter what you or I may feel about what the gov't should or shouldn't do. What matters is what the Constitution says. If you think that the Constitution should be changed, you are free to get the amendment process started. But what you are suggesting is that we ignore the Constitution.

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Mar-07-13 11:32 AM

Michael -- I definately believe in the American people, that is why I trust in our American government and the thousands of American federal employees that work for our nation. They are our family members, our neighbors, they attend our churches and volunteer and contribute to our charitable institutions.

The irony of your idea is that if the reins of federal social programs were passed to private organizations they surely would need to enlarge,add staff,add more and possibly end up resembling the bloated federal programs they replaced.

Why not clean-up the programs that need cleaning and support those that are working (both federal and private). The needs will always be there.

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Mar-07-13 11:06 AM

Michael -- Politics can be positive vehicles to organize people of similar thoughts and beliefs, but when the American public vote these politicians into offices of government they can't forget why they are there.

Everyone has an agenda and when two opposing agendas collide then politicians need to compromise for the good of those for whom they govern, that's the nature of American government. But when we get politicians who refuse to find that middle ground, then we get an America that just doesn't work, everyone begins to suffer, we undermine ALL of our freedoms.

We also need to watch our retoric and not forget Who places government over us, that doen't mean that we stop making decisions based on Scriptures. It means that we recognize when we have stepped over the line and both Republicans and Democrats have stepped over that line. It saddens me to see good Christians not just critique our leaders, but to vehemently attack them, that is a sin against God.

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Mar-07-13 10:49 AM

MNcommonsense: Who is saying that the federal gov't is an evil thing? The federal gov't is a good and necessary thing, if kept in its proper sphere -- as defined in the Constitution.

Your agrument makes assumptions that are unprovable. You seem to believe that if the involvement of the federal gov't were decreased, the size and financial resources available to support organizations would remain at its current size. You have a far lower opinion of the American people and their willingness to help than I do. My faith in the generosity of the American people leads me to believe that private charity would increase as gov't involvement decreases.

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Mar-07-13 10:38 AM

PastResident -- Large events like Hurricane Katrina almost crippled the Red Cross, the Salvation Army is located mainly large and medium size American cities. Please investigate the data and see the scope of America's problems, they dwarf the resources of any one organization or even groups of them.

I do support the organizations you mentioned and they do great work in their regional areas, but also investigate what happened to privately funded institutions since 2008, as the needs increased across America, these groups saw their income decrease. We can't establish a reliable safety net based on that reality.

This "experiment" of the United States of America and it's federal government, one which thousands of Americans have died to defend especially in the Civil War, how has it become an "evil" thing. There is a strength of 50 states working together to meet America's challenges. We face many challenges within our population, some can be more effectively met as

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Mar-06-13 9:17 PM

A short list of non-governmental agencies willing to step up:

Red Cross Salvation Army St. Judes Disabled American Veterans Wounded Warrior Project

Local agencies like: Someplace Safe Food Shelves Churches

And yes, Friends and Families helping each other.

We privately send hundreds of millions of dollars to foreign nations for their aide. I think we could take care of ourselves if we needed to.

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Mar-06-13 9:12 PM

Sven: I don't agree with your characterization of privately-funded charity. When you have a number of individuals working together in a community or an organization to provide help where needed, it does not depend on private whims; it is a group effort. And since the need would always be there, it would not be sporadic.

Also, on what basis do you say that private charity didn't work well for the past XX centuries? I guess that depends on one's definition of "work well."

It would also depend on what you would consider the objectives of the system. If the objective is to provide all a person's needs regardless of his ability to provide for himself, then I suppose the old system didn't work so well, because it offered no help to the lazy. So again, before we could agree on an ideal system of assisting the needy, we would have to agree on what we are trying to accomplish.

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Mar-06-13 6:39 PM

JR: I'm not sure where you're going with this, but I'll go along for the ride.

No, it doesn't have to be the FEDERAL government providing appropriate relief. But, the welfare of the poor and the defenseless also shouldn't come down to the whims and resources of sporadic individuals, in my opinion. That didn't work very well for about 19 centuries, maybe 42, or 110, or 8,345, depending on your beliefs.

So, should STATES be the ones to step up and do the job? I'd rather they would. But, would they? Do they? Sometimes, depends on where you are. RomneyMassCare works well. AlabamaCare would be a scary proposition. The concept of separate sovereign countries, that is, states, largely disappeared after the Civil War. Some kind of national uniformity seems to be preferred by the vast majority. But, what do The Great Unwashed know, right?

There that Lincoln goes again.

You guys!

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Mar-06-13 5:12 PM

MNcommonsense: By the way, who do you have in mind when you say we should put partisan politics aside?

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Mar-06-13 5:02 PM

MNcommonsense: Your thinking assumes that if the Federal gov't ended their safety net programs, local organizations and local gov't would do nothing to fill the gap.

Providing for the poor is not one of the enumerated powers of the federal gov't and therefore should have no place there. The fact that it has crept in bit by bit over the past 80 years does not make it any more constitutional than if it were first being introduced today.

As to waste and fraud, history shows that the larger the gov't, the more of it there is. The only way to reduce waste and fraud is to reduce the size of the gov't. Any other ideas about getting rid of waste and fraud are nothing but pipe dreams. Everyone talks about it, but no one can do it.

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Mar-06-13 3:50 PM

Michael -- There was a time in America when people were not so mobile, families had there own support structures, you not only could count on your own parents, but also brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins. Communities also had their own support structures: churches, American Legion, farmers co-op, this has declined over the years. Finally, American business used to take care of their employees, they offered health care benefits, pension benefits, housing benefits, school allowance, profit-sharing, etc. this also has declined.

We can wish for the past but sadly it is not going to change. The reality is how are we able to care for those in need around us now.

It is time that we put partisan politics aside and work together to remove the fraud and corruption that can be found in those government programs that were created to help not hurt.

I believe in America, I believe God uses America to carry out His wishes and desires.

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Mar-06-13 2:42 PM

Sven: What I am saying is that the FEDERAL gov't does not need to be involved. Please explain why it is necesary to involve the federal gov't in providing help for the needy.

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Mar-06-13 1:28 PM

Well, yes, I agree totally, JR.

Your solution will work perfectly in a 19th century agrarian society.

Which is where you are both politically and geographically.

Vote for Grover Cleveland!

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Mar-06-13 12:11 PM

MNCommonsense: Judging by the sarcastic tone of your note, I wonder whether you are really interested in a serious answer.

Judging by your words, one would think that before the federal gov't got into the social safety net business, there was no one out there willing to help a neighbor in need. Believe it or not, society had mechanisms that provided help where it was needed. And if we shrink the scope of gov't involvement, private individuals and private charities will once more step in. We are not a heartless people. People can and will do what needs to be done without having the gov't taking its cut as the middle man.

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Mar-06-13 11:13 AM

Michael, I would like a list of individuals, organizations, or local governments that can handle the needs of the less fortunate in America. The sheer scope and volume of the working poor, unemployed, disabled, orphaned, homeless, go well beyond the resources you refere to.

I would love to know the church you belong to also, because it must have an amazing array of community social programs (soup kitchen, day care facilities, medical clinic,orphanage, etc.) I am sure you lead by example.

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Mar-04-13 1:45 PM

ZM-agreed, but both systems are leaking money terribly. We aren't going to get ahead if you close loopholes, etc as you suggest but let all sorts of funds fly out the window at the bottom half. Currently, there is more incentive to depend on the programs than there is to go out and find employment for a lot of situations.

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Mar-04-13 12:48 PM

In other words, why not a "balanced" approach?

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Mar-04-13 12:48 PM

ZM: Why does it have to be this first, then that? Why not both?

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Mar-04-13 10:56 AM

If we are to look at reform for the welfare of our poorest citizens then we need also look at reforms for a much bigger expense-corperate welfare. If those who oppose big goverment are truthful then they should rail against the socialsitic nature of our governemnt supporting big business. They should fight against the Gov. selling mining rights for $5 an acre to rich corperations, they should fight when the gov gives technology to corp's who then make billions, they should fight against tax breaks and bailouts for big corps. They should protest against huge companies that pay no taxes but enjoy all the profits. They should fight against artificial price supports and subsidies as being anti-free enterprise. After they have done this, then they should maybe look at the poor.......

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Mar-04-13 9:15 AM

We should make these government programs public knowledge. Any employee's salary employed by the state or federal govt is public knowledge, as well as police records, delinquent taxes, etc. Why should these people have autonomy? Print the welfare and county/state assisted individuals in the paper locally, monthly with the dollar amounts. It's public money, don't we have a right to know where it's going??

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