Posted By Eric Ethington (Author) on April 2, 2012
Jordan Garn of Utah Policy is once again going after PRIDEinUtah, attacking our defense of welfare-recipient’s civil rights. But does his latest argument represent a severely flawed view of welfare itself.
I was thrilled to see that Mr. Garn published a response to PRIDEinUtah’s rebuttal, the debate moves on!
After our reply to his piece, Mr. Garn has taken a new tactic: going after welfare as a whole. To most people it would seem quite obvious that the validity of welfare itself has very little, if anything, to do with the violation of civil rights of Americans who happen to temporarily need assistance, but let’s take a look anyway.
Garn claims that giving welfare assistance to people who need it serves no purpose, and provides no benefit to society as a whole, unlike state employees or legislators who directly contribute time/talent back to the state. He then goes on to attack welfare itself, implying that it is nothing but an “entitlement” that people should just be grateful for.
Let’s take a look at society as a whole, shall we? Does it occur to anyone else that perhaps there might indeed be a clear and enormous benefit to society to prevent citizens from financially crashing so hard that they end up on the street? To say absolutely nothing about compassion, isn’t it entirely fathomable that we the people have an intrinsic interest in working to make sure that all members of our society are able to maintain productive lives rather than being a permanent strain on taxpayers (to say nothing of lives being ruined)?
But no, that’s not (apparently) the conservative way. The new conservative way is to look at those unfortunate enough to need welfare, and instead of reaching out to them with a helping hand so that they can once again become productive members of the state, they would rather mock the system itself with claims of “entitlement” and “socialism.” Liberals recognize this. We recognize that helping those at the bottom not only keeps your soul intact, but is also smart fiscal policy.
Let’s take this one step further, because the constant conservative talking points about the evils of “entitlements” and “government handouts” is really getting under my skin these days.
Take a look at your last pay stub. Did you receive 100% of your gross income? Nope. Every time we get those paychecks, part go to pay for our healthcare (if we’re lucky enough to have coverage through our jobs), part goes to pay state and federal taxes, part goes to social security, medicare/medicaid etc..
And what is also included in there? Unemployment Insurance. That’s right, we actually pay into the welfare and unemployment pool in order to safeguard ourselves in the event of a personal catastrophe which leaves us unemployed. Welfare is not a “government handout,” it’s an earned benefit. We pay into unemployment and welfare our entire lives, in order to protect ourselves in the eventuality of a financial crisis.
We pay into Social Security, we pay into Medicare, we pay into Medicaid.. and yes, we pay into unemployment. So the next time, dear readers, you consider attacking these “handouts,” think again. The only true government handouts? The continual push by Republican leadership to lower the tax rates on the wealthiest percent of the country, even when it’s been proven time and again to be one of the most ineffective economic tools to create jobs we could ever use.
But all these sidebars and tangents aside, forced drug testing without probable cause is a violation of an American citizen’s civil rights. Mr. Garn can rationalize all the reasons about why welfare is bad that he likes, but there is no argument that can possibly justify targeting a specific group and labeling them as potential criminals.