Your Letters: Able-bodied should help themselves when they can
Last week, Stephen Bjorklund urged everyone benefiting from Community Action to contact their representatives. He wrote: "The reason for all these crippling blows to our community: budget cuts and the priorities of our elected officials."
Maybe Community Action could use the same method in dealing with the budget cuts: prioritize. I and most of the people I talk to have seen excessive waste in government charitable programs. Like contractors who charge the taxpayer for putting expensive new windows in a run down house while a perfectly able bodied person sits in the house watching TV. Not only is it hard for government to distinguish those in need from those who feel needy but many don't want to separate the two. I still have to shake my head in disbelief when I hear advertisements encouraging people to apply for food stamps. Insane. I have a relative with a government job that is quitting because of the "egg shells" that have to be walked on when dealing with "clients" and their Greece-like "you owe me" attitudes. I and my coworkers have many similar stories but in consideration to the boss I won't talk about them here until I retire (or get fired). I've heard stories from others in government service like home health care. Here you have a government-paid maid for the elderly, which is fine. But what is not fine is caring and cleaning house while the elderly person's "boomerang" children, who contributed greatly to the mess, sit in front of the TV eating chips, waiting for their government aid and the grandchildren watch and learn the same behavior. I have another relative who works at a food shelf. He watches able-bodied people with much nicer cars than he could ever afford come in and complain about the free food they're getting and then want him to carry it out. I have a friend whose job it was to expose fraud and waste in the welfare system. Ironically his job was cut due to budget cuts even though he made the case that his job saved the county more than it cost. That's government for you, cut what's profitable, fund what's not and cry "class warfare" when the money runs out.
Many people who are eligible for government aid choose not to apply. Instead they give to charity and watch other people collect taxpayer mandated charity who have no business doing so. Stephen said "one of the hallmarks of being an American, we give until it hurts and have done so for our entire history."
Well, Stephen, if we don't "give" the IRS knocks on our door, and yes, $16 trillion in debt "hurts" allot. Stephen quoted Psalms 41:1 (Blessed is he who considereth the poor) to promote support for Community Action. Community Action is not the best and only way to consider the poor. To be fair, government agencies like Community Action have many good people doing many good things for people who really need help. But don't try to sell me half a picture, there is room for a lot of improvement. While we're contacting our representatives about the budget cuts like Stephen encouraged, let's mention the need for budget oversight as well.