Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Expansion of Entitlement / Death of Common Sense

The majority of "heartless conservatives" recognize the need for a safety net to protect our poorest and most vulnerable citizens. But, without vigilance, it is the nature of the welfare state to expand, addicting and enfeebling an ever greater portion of the populace, pushing the state closer to financial dissolution. An example of this is seen when the Detroit Public School System decided that all students, regardless of income would receive free breakfast, lunch and snacks, courtesy of the US Department of Agriculture's Community Eligibility Option Program. To feed the hungry is noble act, but to provide free meals to all students makes zero social and economic sense. It clearly constitutes a misallocation of limited resources that should be directed towards general school improvements or towards those who are unable to care for themselves. So, what could the motivation for this policy possibly be? According to Makr Schrupp, the Detroit Public School's Chief Operating Officer "one of the primary goals of this program is to eliminate the stigma that students feel when they get a free lunch..." So, now a student is entitled to have his well off neighbor fed at tax payer expense, so that they will not risk feeling stigmatized?!? The idea of fostering dependency and entitlement among students from self sufficient families defies common sense on so many levels. And although I draw no pleasure in having any human being feel shame for receiving public assistance, to entirely eliminate that stigma will prove to very costly to the public. Fear of stigma and sense of shame are strong social motivators, which for much of American history deterred a great many people from being too quick to turn to and remain on welfare. This provided a non-coercive, non-bureaucratic deterrent that moderated the use of the welfare state and encouraged self sufficiency. To intentionally eliminate it will result in a costly expansion of the entitlement state that we can scarcely afford during this deep economic downturn.

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