[Originally posted August 12, 2011]
As a member of the middle class, I firmly answer yes, the Republicans do. The Democrats also favor the poor and middle class, but in an entirely different way.
Instead of using the poor directly as an example, let us take a very obese child who can hardly walk. This child definitely needs help, correct? Yes, both sides agree.
Side 1 proposes to force the child to get up, leave behind the sack of potato chips, candies, and favorite goodies, and miss his favorite TV shows. The child must come pull weeds in the dreaded strawberry patch, push the lawn mower, clean the chicken coop, and participate in athletics. Instead of resting afterward, the child is engaged in academic activities until his fingers develop calluses from holding a pencil.
The leaders of Side 2 call the perpetrators of the Side 1 plan heartless, and introduce their own plan. “This poor child can hardly walk--have a little pity! We need to make life easier for him.” So Side 2 brings everything the child needs or wants to him, so he doesn’t have to get up; gives him a larger allowance, so he can buy new video games and avoid boredom; and passes the child in school just because “he tried,” not because he achieved.
Whose plan does the child prefer? Side 2’s plan, of course. What are the results? The child’s weight increases till he cannot walk, the child needs more care, his caretakers (Side 2 leaders) face financial challenges, and eventually the child dies from the problems caused by obesity.
If Side 1’s plan is followed, the child will complain; and his caretakers may have difficulty managing him as he throws tantrums and refuses to work. However, with a lot of love, persistence, and patience from the caretakers, the child will lose weight, become healthy and proud of his achievements, perhaps gain a merit scholarship, and become a success. His caretakers will also prosper with a weed-free strawberry patch and mown lawn.
To me, the difference between the two plans is basically the difference between the Democratic and Republican ways of favoring the poor. The Democrats would make it easier to be poor; the Republicans would make it easier not to be poor--to succeed. If you give a man a fish, he doesn’t have to work; he can just eat the fish and be happy. But that fish will soon be gone, and the man will die of starvation. If you give a man a fishing pole (To give him a fishing pole, create jobs by lowering taxes for the rich and corporations, so they will create jobs here, not overseas, and lower taxes so it will be easier for a man or woman to own a small business.), the man may be unhappy for the first hours as he works and works for a bite. Once the man learns how to fish, however, he will never starve. We need to end welfare. It is killing the self-respect, independence, and work ethic of many of our citizens. It is killing our country (Yes, the caretakers are in financial trouble). Our country can only be great if its people are great, and people cannot become great by living off the sweat of their neighbor’s brow.
Note: Those on Social Security are not living off the sweat of others’ brow, they paid into the Social Security system, and the government has a responsibility, a debt, to pay them back. I do not, however, believe that it is right for the government to continue to force young people to invest in a failing system. I believe we the people can provide for our retirement better than can the government; I want to be allowed to choose where to invest.