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The Two Americas

Madison continues to enable society’s takers.

(page 1 of 2)

There really are two Americas, as that sleazeball John Edwards used to say. 

There’s the America of grown-ups: adults who take care of their business and don’t blame others for their failures. They are countered by a group – perhaps not Mitt Romney’s 47% but growing – of permanent takers, not the workers who earned their Social Security payments and veterans benefits but career dependents and their enablers, people who believe that Big Bird will croak without state-coerced taxation of the achieving class.  

The tenured enemies of free enterprise at the UW’s Havens Center and the bloviators on MSNBC deny any connection between dependence on government and its inevitable result, a responsibility-free lifestyle. Sell that fantasy in Chicago, which is now murdering more people than all of Al Capone’s henchmen. That dystopia has spilled over to Madison, which long ago hung out a sign welcoming the wretched, poor huddled masses of gang bangers and their mistresses, to use the more polite term. 

Having absolved these “victims” of the responsibility to work, we’re now teaching procreators how to be parents, you and I, with our tax dollars. The latest product of the social services-industrial complex is a $150,000 program to teach parents “parenting skills” – to “provide continuous support for low-income families with children from birth to 4-year-old kindergarten.” 

Government enters the nursery when there’s no real adult in the house but has never made a good parent.

“The challenges facing children in our schools call for community-wide solutions,” said Dane County’s well-meaning county executive, Joe Parisi.

Except that it is not a community-wide solution. This $150 grand will serve exactly 27 families in the troubled Leopold Elementary attendance area in south-central Madison, for one year. Call me a cockeyed optimist, but it may even do some good. Taking a whizz in Lake Mendota will also raise the lake level.

Aren’t liberals the ones who are supposed to look at “root causes”?   

We’re paying their rent with federal Section 8 vouchers, buying their food with highly negotiable debit cards (which can be sold on the informal exchange for adult beverages and smokes), feeding their children school breakfast and lunch, passing out free bus passes, giving free this and that – all without the slightest work requirement. Then we wonder why, having relieved our dependents of their major responsibilities, they don’t act responsibly.

Federal food stamp usage has grown 400% in the last 10 years even as the poverty rate increased by only 25%. That will happen when food stamp benefits are increased, time limits are suspended, and states get bonuses for enrolling more into the program. Today, 46 million Americans meet the federal definition of poverty, the most in 50 years. 

Dry your tears. This is poverty that, on average, owns color televisions, cell phones, air conditioning, electronic games, and an automobile, according to a Heritage Foundation study. “The poorest Americans today live a better life than all but the richest persons a hundred years ago,” social scientist James Q. Wilson observes. 

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