A Question for Liberals: Helping the Poor - Island of Sanity

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Wealth & Poverty

A Question for Liberals: Helping the Poor


I have a question for liberals. Yes, I'm far right myself, but I don't mean this to be a rhetorical or sarcastic question. If you're a liberal reading this, I'm sincerely interested in hearing your answer.

So here's the question:

  1. You believe that our government is not doing enough to help the poor, right?
  2. Do you believe that most Americans agree with you about this?
  3. If your answer to question 2 is "no", then isn't your position fundamentally anti-Democratic? You are saying that you want the government to force policies on the people that the majority oppose. Surely you will concede that these programs cost money, so not only will these policies be forced on the people, but then the people will be taxed to pay for them.
  4. If your answer to question 2 is "yes", then isn't your position grossly inefficient? If the majority of Americans believe that more should be done to help the poor, why go to all the effort and expense of a political aproach? You must run candidates for office, fight opposition candidates, re-group after defeats, and even after victories you have to then craft legislation, navigate it through the whole legislative process, and then when it's finally passed, somehow make it work despite the bureaucracy, opposition from special interests, and so on. Wouldn't it be far more efficient to just have all your people donate the money directly to the Red Cross or the Salvation Army or whomever? Even if only 51% of Americans agreed with you, surely you could get more done by having that 51% each give $100 to a worthy charity than by fighting for legislation to increase taxes by $100 and spend the money on the poor.
  5. If you answer "yes" but then reply that voluntary contributions won't work because, yes, the majority agree, but the rich refuse to pay their fair share, aren't you being divisive? You're deliberately dividing society into classes and setting them against each other. Besides, no matter how much you distrust "the rich", surely you would concede that some number of them acquired their wealth fairly and honestly. If you use the power of the government to separate honest people from their money to pay for your pet project, no matter how worthy, isn't that just legalized theft?

I ask this question sincerely because I really wonder what the average liberal thinks about this.

© 2006 by Jay Johansen


Comments

Roberto Jul 23, 2014

Hon. Thero,As a son, I have a question about tatneirg/taking care of the parents. I am trying to go in the path of the relinquishing the mental bonds formed with parents (of course it is only one bond we encounter in the course of life). In order to try this I was bit away from the family and focus on analyzing myself what Buddha taught. Because of that communication with the family was stopped. However, I heard from the other people around my family, friends, relations, that my way is not good. what they say to me is that you should not do that. you should be with your parents, talk to them, look at them etc. I have a serious concern about this. Do we need to stay and make parents happy, make them comfortable all the time? if we look at the other beings in the animal kingdom, there is no such a thing of taking care of parents except humans. Can't humans go away after they are grown, is it a sin that leaving the parents and start an independent life?I would like to get some opinion from you. I won't be able to attend Sunday programs as I am working in far distance from Colombo, if possible could you please email me. -Another thought came in to my mind while I was listening to your sermons, if you can have somebody to translate your sermons to English langue not the books, but the audios/videos the message can be sent to the western region.Thanks in advance.

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