One of the obvious truisms of leftist ideology is that the role of government is to protect citizens from the consequences of their actions. On the pages in the past six months, I have repeatedly warned about the growing economic impoverishment of our nation because of excessive governmental debt and unsustainable spending. Notwithstanding who is elected as president in November, I am convinced that we will look back on these days as much better than what is coming.
In a clear example of the Semmelweis reflex, I was reading a sobering article last weekend by the Associated Press (“AP”) writer Hope Yen, and entitled “US poverty on track to rise to highest since 1960s.”
Interestingly, the AP article cites the example of Laura Fritz. Here is what is said about Ms. Fritz:
“I grew up going to Hawaii every summer. Now I’m here, applying for assistance because it’s hard to make ends meet. It’s very hard to adjust,” said Laura Fritz, 27, of Wheat Ridge, Colo., describing her slide from rich to poor as she filled out aid forms at a county center. Since 2000, large swaths of Jefferson County just outside Denver have seen poverty nearly double. Fritz says she grew up wealthy in the Denver suburb of Highlands Ranch, but fortunes turned after her parents lost a significant amount of money in the housing bust. Stuck in a half-million dollar house, her parents began living off food stamps and Fritz’s college money evaporated. She tried joining the Army but was injured during basic training. Now she’s living on disability, with an infant daughter and a boyfriend, Garrett Goudeseune, 25, who can’t find work as a landscaper. They are struggling to pay their $650 rent on his unemployment checks and don’t know how they would get by without the extra help as they hope for the job market to improve.
Predictably, the AP article notes that Ms. Fritz’s case illustrates how millions “could fall through the cracks as government aid from unemployment insurance, Medicaid, welfare and food stamps diminishes.” Indeed one can reasonably anticipate that it can, and will.
Of course, if I were cynical, I could surmise that as our federal government grows larger, poverty increases. Or more telling, a cynic might say that if he wants to see the future of the United States, he need only look at Detroit, Philadelphia or Chicago, or states like Illinois and California, all Democratic-controlled cities and states. But then again, that cynic could be experiencing examples of an illusory correlation. But this article failed to discuss the importance of personal responsibility, and whether it should play any role in our post-modern 21st century America. I do not know Ms. Fritz, and from the photos published of her and her baby, she is a lovely young woman.
Like Ms. Fritz’s parents and many of us, I also enjoy nice vacations, but perhaps her parents, instead of going to Hawaii every summer with Ms. Fritz, could have saved some of the money from their real estate ventures for the proverbial rainy day. The article noted that the parents were “stuck” in their luxurious mansion on food stamps, but I wonder whether they can downsize in some way or even rent out the luxurious house as they move into a small home or apartment. Perhaps the parents of Ms. Fritz can use their managerial experience for suitable jobs or another business opportunity. Or perhaps Ms. Fritz and her boyfriend could move in with her parents to save the $650 in monthly rent. From the article, we don’t know the answer to any of these questions, nor do we know Ms. Fritz’s level of education, or what prior jobs she has held.
We can anticipate that by completing school with an appropriate level of education in a sought-after career or profession might help her find more suitable positions and alleviated some of her present financial hardship, even though her college funds have “evaporated.” (Incidentally, the Wall Street Journal reported last week the results of a survey that showed that 41 percent of manufacturers, 30 percent of service businesses, and 29 percent of retail businesses said that they had unfilled job openings in July 2012 because they couldn’t identify job applicants with the right skills or experience. Further, a recent Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte report underscores that U.S. manufacturers currently have 600,000 vacancies nationwide.) Further, Ms. Fritz has an out-of-wedlock child with a young man, to whom she is unmarried, who cannot find work as a landscaper. But I am sure he could be suitably employed in other similarly-skilled positions.
It seems that, unfortunately, Ms. Fritz has made some bad choices in life already. But she is still young and has the chance to begin to turn things around, though it will take a great deal of work to climb out of her self-inflicted hole. Marriage, even to the unemployed Mr. Goudeseune, might be a good start. And I am very happy that she did not choose to abort her baby. But Ms. Yen, writing in her article, highlights the dramatic shift in established American culture away from our traditional notions of self-reliance and pride in hard work and achievement to one in which, for increasing numbers of people, dependence on the government is no longer something to be avoided at all costs, but rather something to be sought. You may recall President Obama’s vision of America in “The Life of Julia,” which presented a vision of life based on complete dependence on government. In Julia’s life, there was no family, no friend, no neighbor, no church, no community, no husband or children, or anyone else, just the Obama Regime’s notion of Big Government was there to protect her and to bail her out from the vicissitudes of life. This is a message that has now been absorbed by many tens of millions in our country.
It is not in the Bible, but it is so true that it could be: Winston Churchill once observed, “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy. Its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” Welcome to the New America of Hope and Change! And perhaps when AP writers next choose their subjects for such articles, a more sympathetic example would be a person who did everything right, and then ended up poor in Obama’s America. But just perhaps Ms. Yen had a hard time finding them. Now that story could really tug on our heartstrings.