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Why do we Need a Safety Net for our Citizens?

Updated on January 13, 2013
Our citizens need a safety net!
Our citizens need a safety net!

Can our Citizens Thrive without a Safely Net?

With all this news about the Fiscal Cliff and the Recession one can only imagine what the "Great Depression" meant in the lives of American families. How did they overcome?

I remember as a young girl I would hear my Dad say "During the Depression things were hard". At the time I had no idea what he meant. I used to hear him speak of a United States without a "Safety Net", there were no food stamps, no Welfare, no Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. Jobs were few. My Dad grew up in south Mobile County Alabama and he referred to Mobile as the "Gulf Course".

Times were very hard, he would recount 100's of times how he would visit farmers crops of course without their consent, in order to eat. I often wondered why he disliked cantaloupe melons, honey dew melons, and other fruits and vegetables. It was he had taken so many of them from the fields to keep his stomach from being completely empty during the Depression years he no longer had an appetite for them. He was blessed because he and his family would go fishing on occasion and catch fish, shrimp, craw fish, crabs, clams, lobsters, oysters and other delicacies from the freshwater of the Gulf of Mexico.

He would tell stories seemingly for hours and reminisce about his childhood, and I remember how his eyes would light up and twinkle when he spoke about how he made it despite harsh economic times.

During his teen years he would eventually change his age and he wrote a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt to get an opportunity to join the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC Camp) in hopes of escape from a lifestyle that afforded him little hope with no government assistance or intervention from relatives because they were in the same situation.

The United States Government had helped her citizens in the most challenging economic times by creating a corps of males 18-28 to build its' infrastructure.

Men working in the Civilian Conservation Corps
Men working in the Civilian Conservation Corps

Work Relief Program

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1943 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families, ages 18-28. James McEntee was the head of the agency. A part of the New Deal of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, it provided unskilled manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state and local governments. The CCC was designed to provide employment for young men in relief families who had difficulty finding jobs during the Great Depression while at the same time implementing a general natural resource conservation program in every state and territory. Maximum enrollment at any one time was 300,000; in nine years 2.5 million young men participated in the CCC, which provided them with shelter, clothing, and food, together with a small wage of $30 a month ($25 of which had to be sent home to their families. (Source: Wikipedia)

President Fanklin D. Roosevelt "Second Bill of Rights"

The New Deal

President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the "New Deal" to help our economy heal after the "Great Depression" and part of the "New Deal" was the creation of the Social Security Administration. Social Security is a safety net for senior retirees, some disabled individuals, children and spousal dependants. These benefits can be claimed as early as age 62. The administration of the program requires the employer to withhold Federal Insurance Contributions Act Tax (FICA) a portion of our payroll earnings. The earning are matched by the employer 100% and are paid to the government in order to provide social security and medicare benefits. I remember how proud my Dad a member of "The Greatest Generation"; was when he received his first Social Security Check. He had served in the United States military and he had worked all of his adult life and he was so elated to receive his benefits.

Yet, in these harsh economic times with so many of our citizens "out of work" we can't even pass a Jobs Bill to rebuild our country. We need to rebuild substandard schools for our children, failing bridges and aging highways and outdated airports. Infrastructure job creation would help with our Recovery.

We have to rethink and rebuild our economy in new and innovative ways. But in the meantime, let's remember to protect the weak among us, our children, single parent families, the disabled, our seniors and yes our working families who have experienced job loss and home foreclosures.

America must continue to provide a safety net for its citizens by creating opportunities and jobs, as it has done for generations. Otherwise, it will become as any other third world nations that allow their citizens to survive instead of thrive. I believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all!


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