In the short time since the current Congress convened and President Obama took the oath of office in January, we’ve seen lots of our scarce, hard-earned dollars allotted for things that awaken the welfare recipient within. Millions, billions, trillions - - who can really keep track of just how many of our dollars have been spent? President Obama and the Congress call this economic “stimulus” spending. But those who will be on the receiving end of these expenditures understand that, in reality, it is the welfare recipient within that is truly stimulated.
I, for one, am unable to relate to any of this. I was abused by my Great Depression-era Parents who indoctrinated me with the idea that independence and self-reliance were the means to a good life, and that there is a level of “shame” entailed in being a welfare recipient. But thank God Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina was on hand to set me straight, noting that it can actually be shameful to NOT be the recipient of government welfare. In fact, Congressman Clyburn went so far as to say that if South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford were to refuse federal welfare for his state, that act alone might even be deemed “racist.”
My only hope is that there are others in America who are like me, and believe that cultivating an inner welfare recipient is something to be avoided. Obviously, I’m out of step with the “values” of Barack Obama and Arnold Schwarzenegger and Nancy Pelosi and Dick Durbin and James Clyburn and Chuck Schumer - - heck, I’m even out of step with those family -oriented “Utah values” of Harry Reid.
But last week, After President Obama’s address to the nation, Michael Maslansky of the Luntz-Maslansky Strategic Research firm in Virginia conducted a poll. He discovered that there is now a new divide that has emerged in our country, a divide even greater than that between Republicans and Democrats. He calls it the “responsibility divide,” a philosophical distinction between those who, to use my terms, “have an inner welfare recipient,” and those who believe that our government has now begun to enable other people’s irresponsible behavior.
It’s not clear yet as to which category is greater in number - - those who embrace the welfare state, and those dull, boring, mean-spirited, humorless folks like me who are responsibility advocates.
But the era of Obama has now been defined, and the lines have now been drawn. And as more of our fellow Americans discover their inner welfare recipient, watch for the “responsibility divide” to get even bigger.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.