Libertarian Party of West Michigan

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Forum Home > General Discussion > Social Security/Entitlement programs, just going to post this

PattyH
Member
Posts: 8

I have been really conflicted over a few issues lately and have been hesitant to post my thoughts on this subject.  Earlier this week I got an email from the libertarian party (link here).  

I have felt so conflicted over this topic that I almost felt like going to you all and letting you know that I was leaving the party.  I would feel very sad about that but at the same time I don't want to pretend to have beliefs that I don't.  This was the main issue that kept me from joining the LP in the first place but I sort of worked through this in my head but now I am back to being conflicted about this topic.  I do not believe that you can solve the problem of poverty by throwing money at it.  People don't get out of poverty by getting handouts.  However, disability to me is different than food stamps and other entitlement programs.

I also feel like a hypocrite saying now that I am not okay with entitlement programs when I have used them myself.  My son was on disability for a while.  My family was on food stamps at one point in our lives.  I don't talk about this often.  It's not something I am proud of but we were really struggling, almost lost our home, and it was a very bad time in our lives.  I am sure that I am not the only person who has been in this situation (although I may be the only one in this group who has been on food stamps).  I don't want to sound like I am justifying food stamps or me being on them, I just want to make sure I am up front with you all.  I don't want to pretend like I am someone I am not.  I have changed my perspective on entitlement programs, not just because I don't need them anymore, but because I have a better understanding of poverty and the purpose of the government.  But, I need to talk about this so I don't feel like a hypocrite and so I can either work through my feelings on this matter and move on or say hey maybe I'm not really a Libertarian.  

I agree that the government's role isn't to be our parents and take care of us for the rest of our lives.  And, to be honest, had these programs not been created in the first place, I would probably agree that it's not the government's job to take care of our poor, elderly, and disabled.  Just like I don't believe we can, or should, try to police the entire world.  However, I get really frustrated with the party line of "private charities" will take care of this.  To me that just sounds like a bunch of balogne.  Does anyone really believe this?  I don't believe that private charities would step up to the plate to help people in our country that are incapable of taking care of themselves.  I don't.  Maybe it shouldn't be the "government's" role but whose responsibility is it?  Should we just say fend for yourself to our disabled people and leave them on the streets?  I don't get it.  

I guess I would like to better understand what the party's stance is on entitlement programs.  Please don't think I am stupid here.  I know the party wants to get rid of them, and I am on board with this but I just don't like the simple answer I keep hearing.  If people that are truly disabled (have down syndrome, are blind, etc) they are incapable of taking care of themselves.  What if private charities don't do anything and people are just left out on the streets?  I am sure most Libertarians don't want this.  I guess I would like to know that people in this party have practical solutions and not just some idealistic view of the world, like oh private charities will just take over that.  

I don't think we can go from a government managed program to leaving it all to charities, just like that.  I also think that by just answering people's questions with an "oh that's what private charities are for" simplistic kind of answer isn't going to work for getting people to shift their thinking on entitlement programs. I suppose it doesn't matter because these people would probably not vote libertarian anyway but I think I'd like to see more practical and realistic answers to this question.  I don't think people have to abandon their principals or lie about their true feelings.  Wes Benedict said in this email, "I pointed out that a big difference between Republicans and Libertarians was that Libertarians would publicly acknowledge that we want to reduce Social Security benefits, but Republicans would not."

I don't expect, or even think, Libertarians should say that they don't want to cut Social Security benefits when they really do, but I think that they should have a better answer than just "private charities." 

Okay you can let me have it if you want now.  I have been downright emotional (not just because of my feelings but because I really like all of you, like the party, and don't want anyone to think less of me) about this subject today and decided to just put my feelings out there and see if you guys can persuade me or help me better understand this.

P.S.  I have edited this a number of times now and still don't feel like I have expressed my feelings as well as I would like.  I hope this made sense.


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Patty

August 23, 2011 at 10:02 PM Flag Quote & Reply

PattyH
Member
Posts: 8

And I have to say thank you to Josh for posting this on his FB page.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoEJ-D2bgc0

I am not so sure why this is so difficult for me.  I think when you spent your whole life being taught one way, it's hard to change your thinking.  Still working through this but this really really helped me.

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Patty

August 23, 2011 at 11:13 PM Flag Quote & Reply

radnex
Member
Posts: 3

Patty,
I was raised in the welfare system, and realize the chains that can be foisted upon you by the government. As I got older I could see how it actually kept us inpoverty and prevented us from making our lives better. If my grandmother (who was raising us) made any extra money, our benefits would be cut off. She was penalized anytime she tried to just get ahead.

There are charities out there that will help you climb out of poverty. They don't just give you a handout, but you have to be willing to do the foot work. No charity has done more to give help to people than CSS (Catholic Social Services), and the Mormon Church runs a close second. They will feed, cloth, and help with the bills if you are in need.

As for those that are disabled, if thier family isn't helping them, then shame be upon them. The family is supposed to be a first line of help for those in need such as this. A close second would be the church, and other organizations for such charity. Another way could be insurance companies that used to be in business many years ago before government took over the charity business and effectively ended them.

There are also a lot of people who are milking the system. These are the ones who could be retrained for another job, but simply refuse and continue to milk the system. There are also adults that have been on the system thier whole lives and have never contributed into the system and yet are drawing from it. Those that abuse the system are the very reason that so many look badly at the system as a whole.

We also have to think about how we are going to pay for these systems. The realistic answer is that we simply cannot afford it. It is one of several reasons that are creating the perfect storm (financially) that will certainly cause a financial meltdown in the next few years. If we don't reform, disaster will surely befall us.

I highly recommend reading Are we going the way of ancient Rome? by Lawrence W. Reed a former member and founder of the Mackinac Center.
http://www.mackinac.org/3

In Liberty,

Larry

September 5, 2011 at 12:10 PM Flag Quote & Reply

radnex
Member
Posts: 3

Also a note from another of our members Erwin Haas. He is unable to post here, but e-mailed it to me to post for him.

No, charity is not the way to go. There have been voluntary/fraternal/mutual aid organizations since time immemorial.

 

When my parents emigrated in 1927 and 1935 they joined the RC Church and several German societies; let's call this complex "mutual aid" or the real "civil society". (My father and his brother founded one of those organizations that is still active around Buffalo.)

 

They got jobs, Saturday night dances, movies, books, health care and insurance (my father bot a 500 dollar policy in 1934 and paid it fully by 1954. It drew 1-2% interest until he died some 60 years later and I had trouble finding the company but that's a separate story), spouses, unemployment insurance, etc. from these organizations. The benefits were directly proportionate to their involvement and how well they got along with others in these groups. Credit unions and all of the Mutual.... companies dated from this period. Mutual aid was cheaper, more pleasant, more predictably helpful than governmental actions that they had witnissed in Europe like the Sparticus socialist revolutions in Munich (1919) and a couple of years of Hitler

 

These organizations were not unique to Europeans. Burial and other mutual aid societies flourished among the destitute slaves in ancient Rome. Amos and Andy, now politically incorrect, were associated in a lodge which was a mutual aid society for African Americans who had left the deep south.

 

The entitlement programs run by the feds are horribly inefficient. They supplanted and destroyed the true civic society of mutual aide, of being polite to others, of seeing oneself as the source and beneficiary of producing and of sharing.

 

Christianity in the west was a mainstay of charity but has lost its way and relevance because of its identification with the government and has richly earned its empty pews and cancerous social programs.

 

Erwin Haas


September 5, 2011 at 12:13 PM Flag Quote & Reply

PattyH
Member
Posts: 8

I'm sorry I haven't come back to this post.  Thank you so much for all your responses.  I've read all of them and done a lot of thinking on this matter.  

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Patty

January 13, 2012 at 8:04 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Nicholas Sundquist
Member
Posts: 17

Imagine a USA where all the citizens are twice as wealthy as they are now. That is what is possible without Government "helping" us in our time of need. All the money that is given to charity in spite of the fact that 50% of our money is taxed away from us in one way or another.

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July 10, 2012 at 11:25 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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