Thursday, July 22, 2010

Entitlement Programs Need Some "Behavior Modification"

"Spend-Spend-Spend" is the mantra typically bandied about by fiscal conservatives to describe pro-entitlement liberals. The rationale often cited to justify entitlement programs is that it's the Christian thing to do. The government is simply trying to meet the needs of the disadvantaged, so the argument goes. Christians who are staunch Democrats argue that the rich have an obligation to house, feed, and care for the poor. It's what Jesus would do; and there are plenty of Bible verses and even Catholic social teaching texts to back it up. But keeping the argument at that shallow depth is fraught with logical fallacy and danger.

The situation government usually finds itself in reminds me of Dave Lewis Crawford's song "BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION BLUES" about a little girl whose parents drop her off at grandma's house for the weekend, and the kid is spilled rotten. One of the verses goes like this:
She'll have Cheese Puffs for breakfast
and Gummy Worms for lunch
She's gonna have chocolate cake for supper
Drink up all of that fruit punch
She can wear a hundred dresses
She can do her grandma's hair
She can run the remote control
And She can sit in any chair
She'll be princess for the weekend
Mom and Dad won't have a clue
You can imagine how to modify the lyrics for government spending.

I've heard that employment suddenly rises where unemployment benefits run out. Now there are some folks that are just unemployable. I have a friend that seems normal, graduated from a prestigious engineering school with honors, is kind, and smart. But he's mentally unstable and can't keep a job. But there are many who as long as there's a check coming in that allows them to be lazy, they will. And then there's the "help" in the form of cash that can be spent for DVDs, alcohol and lottery tickets instead of food. When a Child Protection Services agent enters a home to investigate child abuse, the first thing they look for is "food" in pantries and refrigerators.  "What is the priority in this home?" the CPS lady is asking. Is the home secure (is the roof patched), and are the inhabitants dressed in a clean, protective clothing?

Our little girl visiting her grandmas is like a lazy citizen running to the government for "help." The kid doesn't need help, she needs some behavior modification, which is just what she gets when the weekend is over.
It's a long short ride from her grandma's house today
Now she's got to get used to not getting everything her way
There'll be no cheese Puffs for breakfast.... 
She's got those coming home from grandma's
Behavior Modificationary Blues.

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