Growing Government by Perverting Welfare Programs

Right From the Start

Right From the Start

There was an interesting article in Friday’s Oregonian by Casey Parks relating to a series of fliers posted in several neighborhoods on the Eastside of Portland.  Mr. Casey reported that the fliers read as follows:

“Dear Reader of This Notice

“There is an intersection between those people who vote and those people who receive public assistance.  There are nineteen people in this neighborhood; who vote and receive cash disability payments.  The names of these people are being posted where they can be seen by taxpayers and the neighborhood can decide who is truly disabled.  Benjamin Franklin said, ‘When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.’  Some of us in the neighborhood wish to save this democracy and stand in the way of those would destroy it.

“Artemis of the wildland

Mr. Parks went on to describe the reaction of the City of Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights – this is the government agency that Portland uber left government pays to cry “D-I-S-C-R-I-M-I-N-A-T-I-O-N’ even when no evidence exists:

“Jeff Selby, spokesman for the Office of Equity and Human Rights, said the flier conveys ‘underlying notes of violence’ in its tone.”

I have no idea what purpose “Artemis of the wildland” has in crafting those fliers – and neither does Mr. Selby.  But because “Artemis” appears to align herself with taxpayers, Mr. Selby automatically assumes the worst – similarly that pack of jackals at the Internal Revenue Service assume that anyone aligning themselves with “teaparty”, “conservative” or “patriot” is inherently evil.  (I refer to the author of the fliers as “herself” solely because “Artemis of the wildland,” in one version of mythology, is the daughter of Zeus and the goddess of the hunt and wild animals.)

There is not a hint of violence in the words of the message, only a promise to make pubic that which is readily available in the public records.  I am more inclined to view the author as simply frustrated that yet one more government program implemented for laudable purposes has been perverted into a government growth industry by making payments well beyond the program’s intended purposes.  And in the process, the assistance to those truly in need is diminished by spreading the limited resources to those who are simply taking advantage of an ethos that equates program growth with program justification.

The list of government programs that have been corrupted beyond their original intent is endless.  According to the New York Times there are now over 48 Million people on the federal food stamps programs.  There exists a plethora of illegal immigrants receiving food stamps despite the statutory limitations requiring citizenship.  It occurs because those administering the program are told not to verify citizenship.  There are daily news stories about wealthy people signing up for the program (because no one ever checks) and using the food stamps to purchase luxury items such as specialty cheeses, foie gras, and oysters because we have removed restrictions on the types of food products available.

On a more local level, Oregon had a period of time during Gov. John Kitzhaber’s first two terms in which it gave out drivers license without proof of citizenship.  Since you are able to register to vote based on your drivers license, it is safe to assume those same people were able to register and vote illegally in Oregon.  All of this was done because those administering the program were told to neither ask nor verify citizenship.  But the program grew because ineligible persons were allowed to participate thus growing the number of people to be served.

There are tens of thousand of handicap stickers and license plates issued annually in Oregon.  On any given day you can pull into a parking lot of a mall or big box store and watch a parade of people who display a handicap sticker step from their vehicles unfettered by any visible impediment.  (Those most annoying was the twenty-something-blond sprite that jumped from her monster three-quarter ton pickup and sprinted for the front door of the store.  When I asked her what her handicap was, she said it was “Aaron’s truck” but Aaron wasn’t onboard.)  Oregon law requires that use of handicap parking places require not only the appropriate decals, but that the handicap person to whom the decal was issued be in the vehicle.  But those who administer the program never check and few tickets are ever issued.  But the growth in the number of decals issued is justification for the growth in the agency administering the program.  (I have a nephew who is a quadriplegic and I am, therefore, particularly incensed by those who abuse the program.)

Ultimately the costs of these artificially expanded programs result in the contraction of benefits to those who are truly in need.  As the Wall Street Journal editorialized Monday:

“As in Washington, D.C., the entitlement excess of liberalism are jeopardizing current liberal priorities.”

The WSJ was commenting on the damage done by excessive retirement granted to public employees at the behest of their unions:

Many people have been predicting this crack-up for years, the inevitable result of a political alliance in which unions elect Democrats who pad benefits for the unions, which then spend to re-elect Democrats, who repeat the cycle.  The music stops only when the taxpayers are tapped out or the city and state can’t borrow any more.”

The same can be said of the government class who expand benefits to capture the loyalty of those benefiting who in turn vote for those some politicians (mostly Democrats) who will continue and expand the benefits received.  Today in America, there are more people receiving some form of governmental aid than there are paying taxes.  That can be said to be the “tipping point” for when the government becomes “tapped out.”

Turning back to the problem at hand.  When the government class abuses the system, where does one turn?  Complaints to the very people who abuse the system are fruitless.  Complaints to agencies such as the Office of Equity and Human Rights will likely result in an investigation of the complainant rather than the system abuse.  In the end, all there may be is for a citizen to make public that which is viewed as government error.