Swimming in Dependency

March 21, 2013

Let's talk about freedom and fish. I recently stopped at a restaurant. Inside was a small pool with white and orange koi fish. As I came close, they stopped swimming and came to the side of the pool and started to beg. Five swishing tails. Five wide-open mouths peering up at me, sucking the air, silently asking for food.
It brought to mind the trouble with many government programs. Those on welfare find themselves swimming around and around the government's welfare pool dependent on welfare checks, welfare homes, welfare phones, welfare Internet, WIC discounts, Medicaid cards, cash cards, and food stamps. Sometimes they come directly to the legislature or Congress to ask the government for more. Many may not even realize that they're asking for more of their neighbor's paycheck.
Too many Americans are trapped like koi fish in a restrictive welfare pool, dependent on government handouts. Many don't even remember what it was like to be free. Children born into welfare don't know what freedom really is. For them, everything is free. The welfare pool is so warm and comfortable they barely feel the restrictive walls.
Welfare for the middle class beckons. Obamacare offers federal subsidies to individuals making $44,680 and families of four making $92,200 (400% 2012 FPL) for coverage bought through the government exchange. This is "Medicaid for the middle class" on a sliding fee scale for at least 24 million people. The government is inviting more Americans to jump into the welfare pool. (chart designed by Cognizant)
In 2011, a record 70.4 million people were Medicaid recipients. This is 22 percent of America's population. Obamacare will expand it by at least 16 million (see chart above). Last December a record 47.8 million people were on food stamps. And two million households are living in Section 8 welfare homes. These numbers will likely increase. A demo of the Minnesota Exchange gives applicants an opportunity to apply for food stamps and welfare housing. 
Free phones are also available. Individuals on one or more of the following welfare programs can get a free wireless phone, activation without a fee or contract, no monthly charge and 250 minutes of airtime every month without charge:
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Food Stamps
  • Section 8 Federal Public Housing Assistance
  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program
  • National School Lunch Programs's free lunch program
  • Income at or below 135% of Federal Poverty Guidelines
America has long been a nation that values independence. We value hard work, which can lead to valuable life lessons, earned success and self-esteem. We cheer the men and women who immigrate to America and work hard, sometimes at two or three jobs, to build their own business or put their children into college.  
Star Parker, a single mother, fought her way out of welfare. She then started her own organization for free-market alternatives to welfare asks, "why are we turning over more and more of our lives to the most unproductive, least efficient part of our country: government?"
The federal government is deep in debt. Those who have never learned how to swim in the real world, those who have never learned how to say no to a government handout, will not be prepared when the government handouts end.
Welfare saps individual creativity and productivity. America is a charitable nation, but welfare leaves less money in taxpayer's pockets to give toward private charities that serve the truly needy. Welfare also leaves less money in the pockets of entrepreneurs who could grow businesses that create jobs that will pull many people out of poverty and into independence. 
Let's rescue those trapped in the welfare pool and refuse to let Obamacare push the middle class in.
Twila Brase RN, PHN
President, CCHF
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