Monday, January 7, 2013

What Do I Owe?

What do I owe to the support of society and those considered "less fortunate"?

I have a great deal of sympathy for the hardworking laborer who has broken his back for 20 years working at a steel mill that suddenly closes down in some back-water, podunk town. With very little notice he has no health insurance, no way to pay his bills, and minimal chance for landing another job at anywhere near his old pay rate. Folks like this, it seems to me, deserve some short term help. But what about:
  • There was a recent news story about a policeman who bought a homeless guy a new pair of shoes. This was the feel-good story of the month, until it was revealed that the guy was a conman. He wasn't homeless, it was all an act.
  • The folks on welfare who milk the system to extract every free penny they can from society's coffers, all the while refusing to look for work and taking in money on the side all under the table.
  • The folks who milk minor injuries to keep the disability money coming in so that can sponge off the system. That job messed up my back, my knees, my neck. Oh I'm rendered a cripple. Yet they go about a normal life of activity.
  • What about the many who never took their schooling seriously? Instead of making anything of this opportunity, they chose partying, goofing off, drugs, alcohol. Not a one-time choice, but a man years long, systematic pattern of laziness. Now they have no marketable skills and want public assistance.
Sure there are a lot of folks seeking public assistance, but not all are equally deserving of my sympathy. Not all are equally deserving of the significant support that is provided through our tax dollars. So, what do I owe?