9/17/2005

Welfare=Disaster Relief

Prophetic words by Jonathan in 1995: "In a giddy atmosphere in which hate is again becoming acceptable, the demonization of the poor has only just begun." -- law

Welfare=Disaster Relief
A colleague of mine is a conservative who is refreshed by the actions of the Contract Republicans. Since he believes, like many other Americans, that the government ought not to be in the welfare business, I asked him the other day how he felt about disaster relief.

"Its fine with me,"he said.
"But what's the difference? Disaster relief is also a kind of welfare, isn't it?"

..He elucidated that generations of people have grown up bent because of welfare, and he doesn't want to grow any more.

In fact, there is no moral difference whatever between welfare and disaster relief. Both types of aid can be characterized, with equal accuracy, as help to people who are "innocent" or to people who are "guilty" of their own plight:

* Women who wind up on welfare because a man leaves and won't pay child support and who cannot find jobs and day care are Josephine Average, knocked over by circumstance. They form a significant percentage of the welfare population.

* People who choose to live in dangerous places, like exposed barrier beaches or the entire state of California, are highly dependent on federal "entitlements" to help them rebuild when they could easily avoid the situation by moving somewhere else. People who continue living in places that have been subject to multiple hurricanes or earthquakes over the years form a significant portion of the "disaster relief" population.

The reason you can characterize either type of aid as supporting the "innocent" or the "guilty" is because both types of people are included in both populations. Therefore, any popular trend to end welfare, while leaving disaster relief alone, is based on the false premise that there is in fact a moral distinction between the two groups. We get there by a familiar road: accepting disaster victims as Joe Average while refusing to believe that welfare recipients are the victim of any disaster. In a giddy atmosphere in which hate is again becoming acceptable, the demonization of the poor has only just begun.

Welfare=Disaster Relief

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