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The Personal Responsibility Debate | U.S. PATRIOT NEWS & REVIEWS

The Personal Responsibility Debate

“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”  -John F. Kennedy, inaugural address, January 20, 1961

55 years after one of the most famous and moving passages in an American political speech was uttered, JFK would be hard pressed to understand what has happened to the principle of self-reliance and volunteerism that was a hallmark of the American spirit. It is no longer what you can do for your country; it is now what your country can do for you.

Food stamp usage is way up, Medicaid enrollment has brought more people healthcare; a person can get a free cell phone, free rent, free utilities and so many other things by surrendering control to the government. Every social program you join or use adds to the tax burden that grows heavier and heavier every year.

That isn’t to say that social programs don’t have their uses, but when is enough too much? When the middle class can’t afford to live without the programs designed for the lower class? When the tax rate on everyone is north of 70 percent?

CashThe government is up to its eyeteeth in debt, our infrastructure is stretched to its limits, tax rates are up, but the common refrain is not ‘what can I do to help,’ but what can I get?

Social programs are designed and funded to help people in need, during those needy times and support them while they get back on their feet and become productive and valued members of society. Don’t get me wrong, please; I am not talking about people with a genuine, permanent need. Disability programs, although I believe they should be monitored much more closely, are a genuinely good thing. Medicaid and food stamps, as temporary measures, are important safety nets for our citizens – but waste and fraud are rife within the system.

Like so many other things in our society, we prefer to slap a band aid over the most visible symptoms and ignore the underlying problems. One of the biggest problems, when it comes to welfare programs, is getting people off of them. From the first day that someone signs up for food stamps, Medicaid or any social program, the primary goal should be to make that person self-sufficient and independent of the program.

It’s not a race thing, or a gender thing or anything other than sensible. As the Spanish philosopher Maimonides said, “Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day; Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” It is well past time that we start teaching fishing and quit giving out fish.

Our government – which taxes us to pay for its programs – is running out of borrowed money; we ran out of our own money years ago. The tax burden we are levying on our children, and our children’s children, is staggering and growing bigger every day. It is difficult to say enough, but the time has come to do so.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

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Matt Towns

Matt is a former military journalist who spent 10 years in the US Navy. He served in various posts during his career, including a couple of deployments on the USS Valley Forge (CG-50). After leaving the Navy, he worked in management for a number of years before opening his own businesses. He ran those businesses until 2012 when he chose to leave the retail industry and return to writing. Matt currently works as a freelance writer, contributing to the US Patriot blog and other websites about political affairs, military activities and sailing.
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