Handouts lead to dependency, perpetuate misery

Posted: Jul. 6, 2011 9:36 am Updated: Oct. 15, 2014 9:35 am


To The Herald-Whig:

The U.S. has a long history of welfare with sad and socially disastrous results. I think it started with handouts to -- and control of -- American Indians, and later spread to poor whites and blacks. Now it is spreading throughout society.

Ongoing handouts tend to discourage work, enhance dependency and demoralize recipients, perpetuating their misery. This dependency easily becomes multigenerational. Handouts also perpetuate politicians' power and control over recipients, not unlike slave masters' control over their slaves.

A handout should never be confused with a hand up. The millions enslaved by handouts would benefit with a hand up. I am forever grateful to many who gave me a hand up from childhood on, including neighbors, relatives, and bosses. These hand ups involved work for pay starting at age six with cutting weeds in bean fields.

As a "child laborer," I was fortunate to sporadically work and earn less than the "minimum wage," as it prepared me well for an independent adulthood. Sadly, what was common and socially valuable then might condemn kids to foster homes today.

Work teaches individual responsibility, the value of a dollar and provides foundation blocks of experience, making one more valuable to their next employer. Work enhances a love for freedom and liberty, and builds self confidence.

Few things are as sad as multigenerational poverty and dependency in this great country of opportunity. Restoring common sense and somehow evolving welfare handouts to private work opportunities to able-bodied people is essential, but political slave masters prefer dependency.

"You cannot build character and courage by taking away people's initiative and independence." -- Abe Lincoln


Gary Shaffer



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