Vail Daily letter: Building dependency
Ryan Summerlin January 26, 2013
In his commentary regarding the morality toward fairness, Jack Van Ens incorporates a typically liberal strategy of creating a straw man of his opponent.
By extolling his perceived virtues of President Obama, Mr. Van Ens implies that conservatives and Republicans are unjust, unfair, uncaring and belligerent. He uses terms like equality and fairness as if they are exclusive to the left and not universally shared moral values.
Reaffirming that all people are created equal and observing that our country is becoming more unequal, President Obama seeks to achieve equality and fairness through redistribution of wealth. There is an ocean of difference between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal. It’s apparent that our founders proclamation that all men are created equal was to mean an equality before God and equality of opportunity and freedom (conservative tenet). An ideology of wealth distribution seeks equality of outcome (liberal tenet).
Mr. Van Ens is impressed by President Obama’s “passion to spread fairness.” Who isn’t in favor of fairness? The problem lies in the definition and determination of fairness. To some, fair means equal. To others it means earned. Who decides? This also highlights the absurdity that the left are critical of the wealthy not paying their “fair share,” yet they can’t, or won’t, define how much is a fair share.
Van Ens refers to Obama’s Christian call to protect the weak and then asks if the Republican party is intent to slash the social safety net. There is a fundamental difference between the conservative’s and liberal’s approach to the social safety net. The conservative wants to enable welfare recipients to lift themselves out of poverty while the liberal wants to make them more comfortable in poverty. The difference between a safety net and it hammock.
The Great Society of Lyndon Johnson, which was designed to lift people out of poverty, has instead made them dependent on the government and trapped them in poverty for decades.
This result was foreseen by Franklin Roosevelt, who warned in his 1935 State of the Union address that “continued dependence on (government support) induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.”
Last month the Senate Budget Committee reported that in 2011 the average U.S. household below the poverty line received $168 per day in government support. The median household income in America is just over $50,000, which averages about $137 per day before taxes. It’s no wonder we have become an entitlement society.
By seeking to redistribute wealth and achieve equality of outcomes, the Obama administration is making more people dependent on the government. Is that moral?
For the conservative, the moral objective of fairness and equal opportunity is best stated by Ronald Reagan: “Our goal isn’t welfare or handouts. It’s jobs and opportunity. The economic welfare of all our people must ultimately stem not from government programs but from the wealth created by a vigorous private sector.”
Jeff J. Miller