To The Reader's Forum:
As the number of Americans on some form of welfare has risen to a record 35 percent, two thumbs' up to Legislator Ron Lemon for explaining how welfare controlled from Albany and Washington is forced on our county. While New York ranks as the worst in the country for economic freedom, it ranks near the top for the best welfare benefits. For a governor who wants to make this state the progressive capital of the country, we can expect the welfare state to advance further under his control. This end of the state, however, is rightly telling Mr. Obama and Mr. Cuomo, "Not so fast."
Our founders set up a system to keep government as close to the people as possible. It sets up as a triangle with local government at the base holding greater amounts of responsibility and power while the federal government at the top of the triangle having much less power. That has been totally inverted. To re-position it from the controlling grasp of big-government politicians means restoring it closer to the people under local control. That's what Senator Young and Assemblyman Goodell, along with those in the county teaming up with them, seek to do, not to mention Tom Reed.
Welfare, as we know it today, has done little but decimate the family, promote dependency on government as a way of life, undermine the work ethic and make "legal" theft of taxpayers acceptable. Hijacking the term from the Constitution makes welfare seem noble, but nowhere did the framers expect government to "rob" what was earned by someone else to feed, cloth, house, transport, educate and provide health care to others.
Welfare formerly meant "general well-being." Now it means forcibly taking from one and giving it to another with no restitution required. The distorted use of the term by political propagandists manipulates gullible people into thinking that welfare is somehow synonymous with compassion. Welfare was sold as a slogan as a "war on poverty" funded by taxpayers. Are taxes compassionate? War is raw coercion. Is compassion?
I'm wholeheartedly for genuine compassion, kindly helping the poor, needy and disadvantaged freely from the heart but not the phony kind that employs coercive means to achieve a political end with posturing politicians looking compassionate in the public eye. Thankfully, I see good effort by those here representing us at a local, state and federal level justly and appropriately changing the way things have been poorly done for decades.
Rev. Mel McGinnis,