Still spending other people's money (Thomen)

“The gift without the giver is bare; who gives himself with his alms feeds three – Himself, his hungering neighbor, and me.”

These lines are from James Russell Lowell’s poem “The Vision of Sir Launfal,” first published in 1848. The message is that private help has virtue and usefulness, whereas remote government help is bare, i.e., unfruitful, useless. We have been waging the “War on Poverty” ever since President Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society.” We have little to show for all this effort and money. In fact, we have probably made things worse by turning what might have been a temporary need into generational dependency and poverty. Spending someone else’s money is addictive.

Withdrawal will be painful. When will America relearn the truth and start the process of withdrawing governmental support from citizens who are now dependent on “entitlements,” thus encouraging them to become self-supporting, productive citizens?

Who are we going to elect to lead the way? Where are we going to find the leadership that has the courage and skill to articulate this message in a constructive way? Time is running out; “We the People” need to put our hearts and minds to this issue.

James R. Thomen

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