What is the best way to help the poor?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Let's talk about the poor. Most discussions - political or moral - touch on the issue of assistance to the least among us.

Civilized societies have always appropriately put the needs of the poor as a high priority, though we quite often differ on just how to provide the needed assistance.

But regardless of the political infighting, the basic premise remains - Christian belief is to provide help for those most in need.

As a backdrop to this discussion let me point out that the poor in America compared to say the poor in India are far different. Because of the abundance of this great nation, America's poor are in a much different and improved position than poor elsewhere in the world.

That is simply stating the obvious.

But I think much of the division on just how to help the impoverished population centers on our definition of the poor and under what circumstances that poverty came to pass.

Addressing poverty is neither a Republican nor Democrat issue. But political perspectives are shaped by a variety of factors.

I believe the problem with most discussions on poverty stems from the reality that some who are poor are in that position because of past and present poor choices.

The truly needy - the ones everyone should embrace and help - should always be a high priority in this nation. If circumstances are such that you must have a safety net to survive, then few among us would deny that safety net.

But there are also vast pockets of generational poverty that lack all aspirations to improve their position and instead simply look to taxpayers to fund their existence.

Why can't we be honest and say that?

When President Obama removed the work requirement for welfare that had been approved when President Clinton held office, he sidetracked one of the greater success stories in recent memory.

Under the work requirement legislation approved nearly 20 years ago, the welfare rolls decreased substantially.

That decrease has been reversed and then some.

Conservatives don't begrudge one single cent of their hard-earned income going to those truly in need.

Conservatives begrudge every single penny that goes to those who are unwilling to help themselves.

For the life of me, I can't tell you how liberals view the issue other than to raise taxes and throw more good money after bad.

We need a redefinition of poverty and not one based on income or the lack thereof. We need to separate those who are unable to change circumstances and need government assistance from those who turn government assistance into a lifestyle.

I'm tired of hearing the liberal whining that conservatives have no compassion for the poor. I'm a conservative who has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars targeted solely for low-income residents.

What angers hard-working Americans is when the self-imposed poor refuse to provide one ounce of effort to change their circumstances.

Does that not anger liberals, too?

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