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Hooked on Handouts


“The lessons of history… show conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber.  To dole our relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.”

These were the words of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his 1935 State of the Union. Even FDR, the father of the welfare state, recognized its danger and never intended for it to grow into the uncontrollable monstrosity it has become. Today, FDR’s nightmare scenario is our reality.

America has strayed perilously far from the original concept of government aid. Once intended to be short-term help to those in severe need, government assistance has become a long-term solution to all of life’s problems.

America is now hooked on handouts, and President Barack Obama is to blame. Though it was FDR who laid the groundwork for America’s entitlement society, it is Obama who has both fostered and encouraged an ever-expanding, insatiable entitlement addiction.

Obama, in short, has served as the catalyst for what has been nothing short of an explosive progression. In the 1960s, government transferred $24 billion to individuals. In 2010, that number grew to an astonishing $2.2 trillion. That’s a 727% increase.

Meanwhile, the president has been an enthusiastic cheerleader for even more entitlement spending. Food Stamp payouts doubled under his administration as a record 1 in 7 Americans enrolled in the program. Even so, Obama’s Department of Agriculture ran radio ads encouraging more Americans to sign up for Food Stamps.  All of this while overseeing the biggest budget deficit in modern history!

And Food Stamps are just one part of a much bigger picture. Record numbers of Americans are collecting disability insurance in lieu of finding jobs, and Obamacare is set to expand Medicaid and enroll countless Americans. Taken together, Obama has grown the welfare state by nearly 19% according to the Heritage Foundation.

What happened to self-reliance? Responsibility? Individualism? The same principles that guided America as they conquered the great frontier and created the most renowned political system on earth. This America is hidden behind the utopian dream of a reckless ideologue.

And as liberals grow the entitlement state under the guise of benevolence and compassion, they simultaneously cripple the very people they intend to help.  It’s as if a helpless child never learns to walk because a naïve parent insists on carrying them.

Thomas Jefferson so astutely warned of this trap when he wrote: “If we can but prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy.”

But if the left refuses to adhere to the words of our Founding Fathers or the empirical lessons of history, perhaps they should heed the words of FDR, the man they extol as their icon: “continued dependence… is in violation of the traditions of America.  Work must be found for able-bodied but destitute workers. The Federal Government must and shall quite the business of relief.”

President Obama has famously compared himself to FDR. It’s time for him to make good.

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