Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Righteous Anger, not Guilt

A New York Time article has come out with the assumption that critics of the safety net feel guilty about using government assistance but are helpless to live without it. "Many people say they are angry because the government is wasting money and giving money to people who do not deserve it. But more than that, they say they want to reduce the role of government in their own lives. They are frustrated that they need help, feel guilty for taking it and resent the government for providing it. They say they want less help for themselves; less help in caring for relatives; less assistance when they reach old age." NY times, Even Critics of Safety Net Increasingly Depend on it, 02/11/2012.

So the New York Times claims that people who accept government help are helpless to not accept government assistance, and when they find that it is not easy, they give up and feel guilty. Those guilty feelings lead to animosity to the government and anger over not being able to make it on their own without government assistance. That is their claim. May I submit a different conclusion.

The middle class has seen massive intrusions into their lives by government, and unsustainable drains placed on their incomes; their anger towards the government is not from feelings of guilt but actual anger that their means of survival have been abrogated by the same government. For, you see, the same government that promises to keep your way of life status-quo is the same government that is robbing you blind and making your ability to maintain the status-quo impossible on your own. I do not feel guilty that I cannot make it on my own, I feel anger that the government has intruded so far into my life that they have made it impossible to make it on my own.

I spent a very long and hard fought battle a couple of decades ago in getting off the welfare roles, it was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. But I do not accept a dime of government money now, I make do with what I have. Sure that means that I don't own my own home, I drive a car with almost 200,000 miles on it (without a lien), we don't eat at fancy restaurants, or take extravagant vacations.

BUT........ I am doing it all on my own. There is a sense of extreme pride in knowing that the American Dream can still be achieved. My oldest daughter has a college degree and is currently working on her masters. I also have the pride in knowing my daughter's life will be better than my own. With a good deal of will power and a little sacrifice, the American Dream is still possible, but it is getting harder and harder to attain, due to government intrusion, not from lack of determination or American Spirit (as the progressives would like to propose).

I don't need the New York Times to tell me that if I just accept the governments help, I could have the American Dream. They have no idea what the American Dream really is. It is not all the trappings that prosperity brings, it is self-determination and pride in doing for oneself. And we do not feel guilty because it is seemingly out-of-reach without governmental assistance. We are angry that the government takes it from us with empty promises of good things that they have no intention of ever delivering on. That is why we are angry.

"One of the oldest criticisms of democracy is that the people will inevitably drain the treasury by demanding more spending than taxes. The theory is that citizens who get more than they pay for will vote for politicians who promise to increase spending."

That is what Obama is banking on. He wants the middle class to feel obligated, not outraged. I am not falling for it, I have been there and I am not going back. I would rather starve than give the progressives the satisfaction of making me dependent again.

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