Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Cartoon courtesy of USA Facebook

by Stephen L. Dunn

There is a false assumption that is popular in political rhetoric of the time.  "People would rather live off welfare (i.e., the taxpayer) than earn a living." It makes great fodder for policy diatribe, but I find increasingly that it is the stuff of urban legends.  These days I rarely meet someone who doesn't want to have a job, to earn a living. Oh yes, the occasional pampered teenager still fits this mold, but they are the exception in my experience.

The key word here is living.  They don't object to working.  It is working hard, working at less than desirable jobs, working under difficult situations - but not being able to earn enough to live.

I'm not talking about owning a fancy home, a bass boat, and a hot car.  I am talking about paying for the utilities, keeping their home in reasonable repair, having gas to drive to and from work, meeting their medical bills, being sure their kids have proper clothing, affording an occasional night at the movies, or a day trip to the beach, eating out meaning something more than McDonalds.

The entitlement of a social welfare system may be part of the DNA of Europe, but Americans still possess a strong and entrepreneural work ethic.  They believe in the importance and dignity of work. But work loses its dignity when you cannot provide properly for your family or the next oil price hike makes the heating bill a major problem.  Or when gas prices make groceries more expensive.  Or when government policies take dollars out of their pockets that are needed to take their kid to the dentist.

Somehow our nation's leadership needs to resolve the jobs issue.  Creating jobs that will make reasonably priced healthcare accessible to everyone would go a long way to restoring people's faith in democracy in general and our leaders in particular.  As long as we spend more time, energy and money on entitlements and issues that do not contribute to the quality of life of the average American, our nation will continue to walk in a dark valley increasingly characterized by pessimism, cynicism, and extremism.  Those three maladies tear democracy apart.

Cartoon courtesy of USA Facebook

A Prayer for my Nation

Lord, too many of my fellow citizens are without work.
Too many are being crushed under the burden of taxes that do not benefit them
and rising prices that rob them of resources critically needed
Too many labor long and hard, away from their families, without enough rest
only to find they cannot provide for the ones they love.
Help our nation and its leaders to find jobs that men and women can find
purpose in and provision.
In Jesus' name. Amen.

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