Among the disconcerting changes in our national societal fabric over the recent years has been the large increase in the number of persons on food stamps; one-half of our nation no longer pays any federal income taxes, and one-half of American households receive governmental assistance.  In a little reported factoid, there were 225,000 net new jobs created during the last three months, but there were 246,000 persons who became eligible for the social security disability program during the same period.

Further, since the commencement of the Obama Regime, although the nation’s workforce has lost 1.3 million net jobs, 3.6 million have been added to the number of disabled Americans receiving government benefits.  (Did you realize that fewer than one percent of those granted disability status ever return to work of any kind?)  Yet, our nation grows more poor each day (national debt grows by $4 billion per day) and bankrupt from paying for and subsidizing the ever-increasing number of “poor” and “disabled,” broadly defined, who feed at the public trough.

Former Speak Newt Gingrich famously noted that President Obama has become the “nation’s food stamp president,” given the large increase in recipients of food stamps under his Regime.  Even though no national budgets have been passed during the Obama years, in fiscal year 2011, our nation spent more than $550 billion in over 100 anti-poverty programs, and at least $10 trillion since the President Johnson began the Great Society anti-poverty programs in the mid-1960s.  And last week, President Obama unilaterally waived work requirements for the “welfare-to-work” federal program, which required those receiving welfare to be employed or prove they are even looking for work.

Of course, given the level of our national debt and high levels of continued governmental spending, these programs are unsustainable.  (It is interesting to me that no presidential candidate has dared to touch on this topic in the current campaign.  I think that I echo many other Americans when I say that I don’t really care when former Governor Romney left Bain Capital, but I am quite interested in hearing what all candidates running for office in 2012 explain what they intend to do about this.

As a prime example of penetrating public issue-oriented political reporting, Politico exposed earlier this week that the President’s favorite Girl Scout cookies are Thin Mints.)  Of course, most of the money devoted to anti-poverty programs finds its way into government bureaucracy and personnel, and that is why the poverty levels in our nation are no different (and actually higher) today from where they were in the mid-1960s, notwithstanding the many trillions spent on “alleviating” poverty.  Of course, the European social model of cradle-to-grave dependence is the aspiration and social model for President Obama and many Democrats.  The European welfare states are also unsustainable as both social and financial models, and their respective situations have been extensively studied in academic and financial studies, and widely reported in both the American and European media.

Interestingly, there is a faint glimmer of hope from Great Britain.  Tania and Michael Sullivan are a lovely married couple from Kent, England, with a beautiful family.  Tania, 37, is expecting her twelfth child (due in December).  Her children range in age from 19 to eight-month old twins.  She has conceived an incredible twenty times over nineteen years, and has sadly suffered numerous miscarriages.  They own a 17-seat minibus to move their family (gasoline in the UK presently costs about $8 per gallon), and the family typically purchases twenty loaves of bread and over six gallons of milk each week (just six?).  The family lives on Mr. Sullivan’s salary from his own business, Sullivan Joinery and Crafts.  (In a shameless plug, here is his business’s website if you need some carpentry done, or hand-crafted furniture.  He does export, too.)

Now you might wonder what makes this family so unique to be the subject of this blog.  Under the UK’s generous welfare system, the family is entitled to numerous subsidies and tax-payer benefits.  However, the Sullivans refuse to collect any welfare, even though they are eligible.  The family has never hired a babysitter and Tania home-schools her children at their five-bedroom home.  After her sixth child, she did give up her job as a corporate recruiter.  She does admit that she is often tired.  According to a recent interview in The Daily Mail, she said, “I’m still feeling well – albeit tired – but tiredness is part and parcel of being pregnant especially when you have twins to take care of at the same time.”  I would imagine so.

In addition to being a super Mum, as they say in the UK, she also has time to write books and has a website about her family.  Even though I have never heard or read a sermon on this particular Scripture, but another one of those pesky teachings of St. Paul that he wrote in I Timothy 5:8, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”  I am not fully convinced that a person who relies on taxpayer-provided welfare and benefits for their family qualifies as taking care of his own, but I greatly admire and deeply respect the Sullivans for taking care of their family.  And they show that it can be done if one wants to do so and is willing to make the necessary lifestyle adjustments.  And that is why they are a family after my own heart.  God continue to bless you richly, Sullivan Family!