The Time Has Come
What this country needs is an Office Of Individual Responsibility.
We’ve been on a government-responsibility-to-the-individual kick since the 1930s. We’ve gone pretty far with it, too. In fact, I think we’ve graduated and might even have a Ph.D. in how to take care of and reduce the responsibility of our citizens.
So far, we offer “free” education through high school, provide food, clothing, housing, some transportation, college education. That started out as being only for the needy. It’s expanded past that (though everyone is needy in one way or another) and into ever higher income brackets. We all, at one time or another benefit. Of course, this all raises the cost of the “free” stuff, so more and more become needy. But I digress.
We even have organizations within the government institutions that promote these assists. The administration, for instance, is bragging that the 11 million people (or is it 14 million?) receiving food stamps is a victory for the program that makes sure everyone who is entitled gets the stamps. That’s an assistance for the assistance program.
The latest assist, I read, is providing free cell phones with 250 free minutes to whomever needs them within the needy category. Reportedly, it’s a bit out of control because some people are using false addresses to get the phones, then selling them.
Well, that’s people being people - clever, innovative, resourceful.
Which helps to make my point. We need to put as much effort into an Individual Responsibility movement as we do into the Individual Dependency movement. It does appear that many assistance or dependent people are quite resourceful.
In fact, I know one woman who spent a great deal of time on assistance and can work her way through the bureaucracy with the efficiency of a computerized machine. She had to do a bit of juking and dodging when she failed to report that she had a job and was being paid under the table. The welfare reforms of the middle 1990s is what got her on the road to regular employment.
Again, my point. Many people are more resourceful than given credit for. We need to cultivate and even reward that behavior, legally, of course. Hence, an office of Individual Responsibility. It needs to start in kindergarten with examples of people who have gone from nothing to something and why and how they did it. Both carrots and sticks can be used liberally. We can even reward the welfare dispensers for not putting people on the dole.
That might be a bit harsh, but dependency needs to be discouraged, not encouraged so that assistance, which is often necessary, doesn’t turn to dependency. We could, also, have special Individual Responsibility awards and rewards. I see such a movement moving into every layer and venue in our country.
The time has come.
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