My point is not to debate the place of the phrase in our society. My point to discuss is the important roles being filled by, and possible intentions of, government.
Many Americans have a personal calling (through faith or a giving heart) to give financially to those in need through tithing or charitable giving. After paying burdensome taxes, many of us are left with just enough of our own hard- earned money to live on (in the face of rising health care, food and gas costs) and little with which to give to others.
Government is performing acts of “charity” on our behalf with our tax dollars. For many people in need, assistance from the faceless bureaucracy of government seemingly replaces the need for help from churches, communities and individuals.
An extra unintended (or perhaps intended?) consequence of heavy government aid is a loss of implied personal responsibility that comes with accepting financial or physical assistance in a personal exchange with individuals. Is government erasing our pride in hard work, duty to family and personal responsibility?
Participation in government assistance programs is skyrocketing with almost 48 million Americans receiving food stamps, and almost 9 million receiving SSDI checks. Nearly 100 million Americans receive government assistance checks funded by taxpaying Americans. Surely we are more capable than this.
My fear is that big government welfare programs are demoralizing and replacing the American spirit through the duplication of efforts and the enablement of capable people to stay on government dole.
Government “charity” is failing. Heartbreakingly, millions of children are hungry in homes benefiting from multiple assistance programs, and the cycle of poverty spreads. Many Americans in hopeless situations are overshadowed or underserved in the midst of exploding assistance program participation. Perhaps it is primarily the children who remind Americans that we still have a role in helping those in need.
Our government is not alarmed about exploding participation as millions of our tax dollars are spent to advertise such programs. What benefit is so great to those in power that they want 100 million plus Americans on government dole? What extra power is gained?
Hopefully the recent revelations of the Benghazi cover-up, IRS corruption and the DOJ seizure of Associated Press records have opened the eyes of all Americans as to how little government should be trusted with assuming more control.
Government is assuming the role of healthcare provider/enforcer through ObamaCare (with the unlawful IRS responsible for enforcement).
Government is the retirement “provider” (despite the fact that money forced from paychecks for “retirement” has already been spent elsewhere in this Social Security Ponzi scheme).
Government controls the education of the bulk of America’s youth, and many parents happily take a backseat. Nancy Pelosi advocates for government to assume the role of daycare-provider.
Government recently pushed for additional gun laws, which would have done more to restrict law-abiding citizens than criminals.
Businesses and workers are suffering with high taxes and unnecessary regulations under an administration seemingly naïve to basic economics. America discourages new business due to a hostile tax and regulation environment, yet our administration seems to prefer this environment over relinquished control.
With each additional needless role of the government (beyond security, enforcement of sensible laws and a reasonable safety net), more freedom is taken from Americans.
How did we get here? America elected a president who advocates more government control in the lives of individual Americans (unless you are a 15-year-old seeking a morning-after pill or desire to have a late-term abortion).
We have one major party promoting big government (they call themselves “progressives” and “invest” money rather than “spend”). The other major party advocates “limited government,” but has often failed Americans in pursuing such.
What is the consequence for Americans of a growing unhealthy level of intervention from, reliance on and trust in a government showing signs of corruption? My hope and prayer is that we do not have to find out.
Regardless of liberal or conservative leanings, Americans would do well to embrace the “limited government” values of the founding fathers (often echoed by libertarians) as a protective measure from current and future governments.
Claire Dunaway Cyr of Marietta is an artist, art teacher and group fitness instructor.