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A Bleeding Heart Conservative Welfare Plan

Updated on January 14, 2017

Introduction

In debating liberals and progressives, they will often comment that Conservatives have no plan to help the poor. That is not true. We just have a different idea of the role of government in helping people in need.

- Jan. 2017

Background

Conservatives belief in a limited federal government. That is because of our Constitution limits the power and defer some powers to local government. The reason is simple. Those closest to the source of the problem often have the best solutions.

The current welfare system is failing. It is inefficient, full of fraud, and a disincentive for people to find work. In every measure, the current system of welfare, food stamps, medicaid and disabilitiy are not performing. It has grown into an entitlement mentality that our citizens are trapped into for generations. This was never the intend of these programs.

Even in Finland, a most progressive European country, they are experimenting with new methods to create incentives to work. Why is that happening?


Guiding Principles

Conservative has a few basic principles with regard to helping people.

  • Help people help themselves.
  • Local government better than Federal government.
  • Accountability is required.
  • Results based programs.
  • Private charity better at social programs.
  • Common sense approach

A Preamble

Let me start by saying if Conservatives had our way, 80 years ago, we would have preferred a vastly different approach to welfare and social security. Since, we are already enmeshed in this fedearl program, it is too hard and impossible to replace. Too many people are dependent on the monthly SS checks.

Let me address what I think is possible in 2017 and not what I wish it could be. It would be a compromise solution to fix the current existing problems but not an ideal solution. The boat has sailed on that option.

Examples of Some Failed Government Programs

Let me start by identifying some failed government programs...

The VA, veterans administration have been in the news. This organization has failed our veterans by not delivering the healthcare these veterans desperately needs. They had to deal with bureacracy and delays in getting Dr. Appointments and getting treatment that are life saving procedurs. The agency is full of corruption at evry level and yet, no a single person have been fired or face criminal charges. There is no accountability in this organization.

The IRS, suppose to be an independent non partisan organization charged with collecting tax revenues. Yet, we learned in the past few years under the Obama administration, they have been conducting extra scrutiny of Conservative organizations applying for tax exempt 501c status.

The EPA, whose mandate was to protect our environment with clean air and water, embarked on a war against fossil fuel in specific coal in the fight against climate change. This source of cheap emergy is also the source of many good paying jobs for Americans, which were lost in the process.

This is only three examples of many Government agencies including FEMA and the NSA and HUD and even NASA who have lost their Mission.

An Example of a Private Competitor...

Let's take a look at the US Postal Service. It has lost money every year it's been around. The price of stamps keep going up and yet, the services have not improved. Compare that to a provately runned business such as Fedex or UPS both have been money making operations. They deliver packages using high tech. tracking systems. They are able to fullfill a service that people want and need at a competitive advantage.

A Stark Image Comparison

A Conservative Alternative Plan

  • Welfare - The current welfare system is ineffective. A better way to implement welfare is with workfare. Every able body person should spend 4 hours per day to either volunteer at local government entities or clean local streets and parks. The other 4 hours should be spent on looking for work. Paying someone to stay home and watch TV is a bad idea.
  • Medicaid - Current Medicaid programs goes too far in providing benefits that are much better than a person on Medicare. That is wrong and unfair to those who work and abide by the rules. A Medicaid system for the poor is a safety net. It should not be "better" than other Americans.
  • Food Stamp - There is too much fraud in this system. With all the technology we possess, we should be able to create a fool proof system that will allow the recipient to buy food only and nothing else. They should not be able to sell it on the open market for cash.
  • Disability - Current disability claims and recipients are too lax. There needs to be a better system in place to verify disability before payments are made. Periodic review is necessary to make sure the person did not recover from their injuries.
  • Housing - Housing subsidies should be made to couples with kids and not only to single parents. This incentivizes families to break up for the benefits.
  • Healthcare - We are a compassinate society and all who needs care must be provided. That is our safety net. The bottom 10% should be given subsidized healthcare. For the other 90%, a competitive system with various plans and pricing should be the norm. People with pre-conditions should be able to get healthcare insurance. That is what an insurance plan is for. The risks are spread among a large pool of people. People who are afflicted with a serious illness must be covered and the costs shared with the rest of us.
  • Homeless - A free and just and civilized society cannot have people sleeping on the streets in tents. Churches and private charities should provide most of the temporary shelters and the help and conselling they need. If needed, local city government should provide shelters that are clean and safe.
  • Mental Illness - We need mental hospitals to help and care for those who are mentally ill. These centers should be monitored so abuses don't happen just as with any other institutions.
  • Higher Education - The idea of a free or subsidized higher education is great. However, it is not for everyone who wants to attend but must be based on academic standards. I am a product of a free College in the 1970s in NYC. It worked well until they instituted open enrollment.

One Example of Good Intentions Gone Bad

The current EBT program or known as food stamp, is over 44 million people. This is up 32% since 2009. What is one of the top private charities in America? Feeding America is number three in charities with 2.1 billion dollars. How can this be? Something does not compute. If we are spending so much as a nation to help the poor with food, why do we have a private charity doing the same? There are only two possibilities, either the SNAP is inefficient and failing or the charity is extraneous and a fraud. I hope you are understanding what I am saying here. As a conservative, I am not complaining about the cost of a federal program that help people in need. I am just saying these programs does not work well and they don't fulfill their mission.

Perhaps the federal govenment should look at private charities to perform some of these social services. Instead of just giving people a credit card, a private organization will help with other ways besides just providing food and nutrition.

Feeding America

Summary

I read a book recently called "Bleeding Heart Conservative" by Allison Lee Pillinger. I agree with many of the points by the author. Hence, I co-opted the term for my hub. Conservatives have big ideas to fix our social problems. Some of it has to do with personal responsibility and self reliance. Tapping into private organizations and religious organizations are also part of the plan. Some things are better managed by people who have a vested interest. The government is not the solution.

The dignity of the human spirit cannot be ignored. Giving people free stuff is not compassionate in itself. In the long run, it is better to help people to help themselves. The ethics of work and earning a living should be the goal of everyone who is physically and mentally able to work.

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    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 3 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Well said. Two points: Conservative organizations applying for tax exempt 501c status. By definition for 501c3 status an organization is supposed to be politically neutral. If an organization defines itself as conservative, hasn't it made itself ineligible? Doesn't that description trigger further investigation into that application?

      Social Security is not an entitlement. People pay for it. If you don't work the required number of years, you don't get it.

    • jackclee lm profile image
      Author

      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Kathleen, your right about the 501c status except many progressive groups get the status. Why are conservative groups being singled out by the IRS is the problem. If I had my way, all 501c should be scrutinized equally. There is much abuse in this such as the Clinton Foundation...

      With regard to social security, you are also correct except since the inception of social security, there have been many additional benefits added to the program which makes it more costly. For example SSI is a program started in 1974. These programs are not cost effective in my opinion. It also creates dependency.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 3 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      The real problem with social security is its longevity. It was intended to help people in the final years of their lives, not supplement other retirement benefits for the last third of a person's life. The solution, obviously, is to raise the recipient's age. Not only would it reduce the flow of money out of the fund, it would build up the fund by people working longer and contributing into it.

      I'm sure progressive groups also attain 501c3 status. All due respect, how do we know they don't go through the same scrutiny just because it hasn't been in the news?

    • jackclee lm profile image
      Author

      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Because the IRS Scandal of Lois Lerner clearly exposes the target of Conservative groups and the testimonials of conservative group applicants first hand experience dealing with the IRS. I have not heard any progressive groups making the same claims...

      With regard to Social Security, your are correct the demographics of aging boomers is a factor. However, the system was never solvent to begin with. They just keep kicking the can down the road. Ideally, it should be a pay as you go scheme instead of a ponzi scheme. Congress never set the money aside and just borrow from the fund and spent it...when they had surplus, now we have a deficit with aging boomers and people living longer...

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