Monday, May 05, 2008

#394 Welfare Reform

#394 Welfare Reform


If you think words don't have power, think about this: When welfare was created, it was called "home relief." It was a small, temporary boost that assumed (a) you had a home, (b) you didn't have a job and (c) the depression would eventually end.

Then, they broadened the whole thing into welfare. Welfare. Some people needed more help and for a longer time than others. Okay. This is America. We take care of our hard cases, but still assume they'll eventually get to stand on their own feet.

But welfare didn't go far enough. So now, it's "Human Services." And who among us is not human?

The idea of helping those in need, of course, doesn't merely extend to those in need.

The current White House has been pretty good at spreading Human Services to corporations, which, under the law, are "persons," and therefore "human," and therefore eligible for human services.

The biggest handout of this kind has been deregulation. But suddenly, recently, even the Frootloops in Washington realize there's a problem. So in the waning months of this administration, all of a sudden there's all kinds of human services reform going on.

Lead tainted toys? Let's give the Consumer Product Safety Commission some teeth, else kids'll die from lead poisoning.

Banks that have forgotten the value of a dollar? Better tighten down on those guys a bit. (Not that a dollar's worth anything these days.)

Credit card usury? Let's make them charge a small fortune instead of a large one.

Airplanes that haven't been inspected in two million miles? Ground 'em.

They're even nosing around the oil companies, looking for ways to force them to bring their prices down to ionospheric.

Human services are sprouting like cherry blossoms in Washington or artificially inflated corn stalks in Iowa.

What's the impetus for all this? It's not likely common sense, though a bit of that would do the trick.

No, it's we, the peasants. We are ready to revolt. Throw us a bone and we'll gnaw away for awhile and forget the uprising. If we figure we're not getting tainted Barbies, or tainted loans, if we're allowed more than 20 minutes to pay a credit card bill before incurring a late charge, if we're relatively likely to board an aircraft whose wings fall off in flight (if it ever manages to get in flight,) and if gasoline stays below eight bucks a gallon, we'll shut up.

The second biggest handout just happened. It's when the federal government bailed out a failed financial house whose loan officers got caught with their pants down, sitting on the toilet and flushing the bottom line.

All this is from the royalist free marketeers who think public education is socialism and think "the market" will "correct" itself to the benefit of us all. This is a White House that wants to privatize highways, wreck what's left of the railroads (those commies at Amtrak don't deserve a subsidy, but the tobacco industry and big finance might?)
and support church-run schools.

Well, church-goers are human, right? So human services should apply, right?

Are you confused? You should be.

But Karl Marx isn't. He's too busy laughing in his grave.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.®
©2008 WJR

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