In the Preamble to the United States Constitution, our forefathers laid out the provisions to foster a more perfect union: establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence [sic], and promote the general Welfare [sic]. In commenting on the last provision, it seems that the framers of the Constitution were adamant about stressing the importance of ensuring the well-being of society as a whole. One of the ways to make sure that society as a whole is being taken care of is in the institution of social welfare services. However, the idea of the redistribution of wealth has sparked among the most controversial of political debates in modern times.
With the ascent of the Tea Party and an increase in libertarian thought, a spotlight has illuminated the issue of “forced taxation” and “forced kindness” in the funding of social service programs. However, it is not the analysis or moral question of such nor the requirements of eligibility that I would like to focus on at this time; rather, I would like to provide insight into the realities that would exist if we did not have such programs at all.
If social services were suddenly unfunded by the government, chaos and mayhem would ensue. While a few of the former welfare recipients may be able to find work, that avenue is quickly fading for many Americans in this failing economy. For those that will not be able to find work, their future would definitely become grim. Millions of adults, children, and animals would become homeless and be forced to live in the streets. Diseases from starvation and poor sanitation would run rampant and unchecked. The streets would fill up with the stench of urine, defecate, and trash. More and more children would end up in foster care, but even worse, left to the mercy of the streets. Petty and violent crimes would greatly increase. Is this the American dream we want to foster? I am sure that our forefathers, many who concentrated their life’s work or even gave their blood to secure the future prosperity of America would hang their heads in disbelief and shame.
There are those on the right who have stated that voluntary donation is enough to tend to the issues of the needy; these people are sadly misinformed. On average, most of the population do not donate enough or often enough to make even a noticeable dent in the problems of the less fortunate.
While none of us want our hard-earned tax dollars be used to provide dead-beats with easy money, we should not punish the many because of the few. As a nation, we ought to encourage people to become productive members of society. However, sometimes, especially in times of economic downturn, unfortunate situations legitimately befall people – these times should be the reason that social services exist.
If a nation is only as strong as its people, then we ought to care about the ills or condition of society – we are all a part of that same society, so it stands to reason that the health of a society affects everyone. Selfishness might serve the individual, but it is detrimental to society as a whole. In making sure that social welfare programs exist, we are not only helping each other, but we are also helping ourselves.