This Article is About
strict time limits
lifestyle choices
work ethics
stipulations
no doubt
single parent
helping hand
Entitlement Program
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Entitlement Programs: At what point does the helping hand become an enabling hand?

“If you give a man a fish, you will feed him for a day, if you teach a man how to fish you will feed him for a lifetime.” Working first hand in the legal field with people receiving supplemental benefits from the government whether it is medical, housing, food, and legal assistance, I came to realize that our Entitlement Programs do not encourage a self-sustaining lifestyle. Many of program enrollees see no benefit of giving up the benefits they receive and contributing to the already overburdened tax system. Moreover, the recipient’s attitudes have become indifferent to the fact that their fellow citizens are subsidizing their lifestyle. The US Entitlement Programs should reform its policies by focusing on the following three issues:

Issue #1: Benefits without end. There can be no doubt that receiving benefits in time of need are some of the blessings our country offers to it is citizens. However, we need strong policies making sure these benefits have strict time limits and conditions. For example, many of the entitlement programs will not help an individual unless that person is a single parent or has no income. Needless to say, the more children you have the more assistance you receive. By setting “double-edged” stipulations, I fear we are setting a precedent for people’s poor lifestyle “choices” that are degrading to our work ethics and values that were once beacons of praise in the World. Perhaps if Entitlement Programs have more work oriented requirements while receiving benefits, such as, volunteering, maintaining taining certain grade average, these would build strong work ethics, also provide recipients with accomplishments that can be utilized later on in life. Ceasing or reducing ones benefits once an individual breaks a law should also be more closely monitored and enforced.

Issue#2: Needs vs. Wants. True needs and wants must also be better delineated and monitored especially when so many benefits are not well tracked. The simple math of the price of cigarettes will suffice to realize that the cost of smoking is obvious. But what about the cost of cable or satellite television that can be found in nearly every home of those receiving benefits? Perhaps a better managed voucher system should be put in place to better control what benefits can be used for or perhaps even where a recipient can live. If someone is truly in need of basic living necessities, why should they be given their wants as well?

Issue #3: Generational perpetuation. In the past receiving assistance in any form was considered a disgrace and kept secret, if possible. Today, it is talked about openly and is a goal for those who abuse it. It is unfortunate that the mere psychology of receiving benefits has come to be a generational concept for many recipients. More and more self-induced “disorders” have become a cliché for depending on supplemental income, (ADHD) Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Alcoholism, to name a few. It seems that too often we concentrate on the concept of defining a disability than that of defining an ability to work (emphasis added). The policies that started generational cycle of assistance can also help diminish it.

In conclusion, working hard and striving for the best life for our families is embedded in the DNA of our country. Perhaps we should encourage our policymakers to teach our low income citizens how to “fish” and utilize their “fishing abilities” into making a living, instead of handing them in a “golden fish.”


Street Talk

The dificulty I have with surface philosophy; "The Fish/Fish-pole" for example, is that it that it all sounds so straightforward. However, expose it to the cultural, psychological, practical, spiritual, moral, judicial, political and capitalistic striations and we quickly see some problems; e.g. In analogy; how does one fish with a pole when the permit costs a fortune, the bait is too expensive, the line is substandard, the hooks are blunt and the water polluted? This is not about mere leverage and condition setting; it is about being careful not to seek change without understanding why things are as they are. Adjusting a broken dial solves nothing. And who took away the poles in the first place?

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
abi  

I think this indeed a great article. However, there are enornomous problems that will be encountered if such benefits are totally eradicated, or if an attempt is made to start teaching people how to fish. The "so called teachers" who will need to teach people how to fish will need more of them as such (extra job will need to be created or else, there will a huge back log if one teacher is assigned to a thousand job seeker). Some with mental disability will suffer the most, those without diability will certainly develop one automatically, in order to qualify for benefits. Psychologist/Psychiarist will make more money in process of presenting reasons why an individual is disability and should qualify for benefits. Just them way, Americans are yet to have a good cause to barn cigarrete smoking even thou its effect in the body is obvious, Or the same reason why fast food restaurant keep thriving even thou, to a large extent, they are the root cause of obsesity/high mortality rate. This is certainly a huge problem, no doubt.I believe it will take experts at least 5 years to find a permanent solution to this type of problem. Thanks

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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