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OPINION

Why Liberal "Caring" Is Cruel

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Oh, how tempting it is to think that you're doing people a favor when you give people things for "free" under the guise of "caring." Yes, in the short run, you may relieve the stress of difficult times and the resulting financial burdens. But soon, the government "caring" quickly gives way to an insidious dependence that traps citizens into even bigger problem-learned helplessness.

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Psychologists have labeled "learned helplessness" as the depression of our age. Far too many citizens are saddled with a depressing reality-"Nothing I do is going to make any difference in what happens to me. So, I might as well remain a victim overwhelmed by the challenges of living." Their only hope is a government willing to take from the productive and provide entitlements that can meet their basic needs. Far too many citizens have lost confidence in their ability to take responsibility for their own lives.

Not only are such attitudes crippling, but accepting government dependence sets people up for more problems. If short-term supportive benefits come to an end, the shock of increased costs makes life even more difficult. For some, rage and riots are the result as they demand continued support. After all, the government does a great job of training people that they are entitled to government support and are unable to manage their own lives.

As an example, despite being ineligible at the time, millions of Americans who had been allowed to enroll in Medicaid because of COVID will soon be removed from the program. President Biden refused to veto the congressional legislation ending the COVID-19 national emergency that had lowered the requirements for Medicaid enrollment initiated in March 2020. As a result, it's estimated that a fifth to a quarter of the 100 million people now on the program will no longer be eligible for coverage.

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Rep. Greg Murphy (R-N.C.) confided, "During the public health emergency, 18 million people wound up on the Medicaid rolls that simply do not qualify. When this is over, most of them are going to have to get a job, go back to work, and pay for health care through Medicare rather than just receiving free benefits from the government. (For those who refuse to work) they're going to have to figure out a way to feed themselves and pay their rent and utilities."

The same could be said about providing "temporary rent relief." Such relief is another "caring" benefit that stings when that relief ends. In Los Angeles, certain COVID-19 renter protections ended last week, bringing many to the possible threat of falling into homelessness. Landlords who have faced months of receiving no payments are eager to increase rents. Politicians are trying to put limitations on owners, but clearly, those taking advantage of "rent-free" living are in for a rude awakening. 

When the gravy train runs out of gravy, people are faced with stark reality. The continuing inflation and threats of a recession are making coping with that reality even more difficult. Many are being forced to live paycheck to paycheck.

Abraham Lincoln would remind today's politicians of something that is far too easy to forget: "Government should do for people that which they cannot possibly do for themselves--and leave otherwise alone!" 

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Even when a nephew he loved asked for support, Lincoln wrote back: "The worst thing you can do for those you love is the thing they could and should do for themselves." 

Lincoln cared enough to require others to take responsibility for their own future. There would have been no war on poverty or dependency-inducing entitlements in Lincoln's administration. Lincoln would have agreed with the challenge Victor Frankl gave to America: "The Statue of Liberty on the East Coast needs to be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast." Lincoln knew that what made America great was not its government but its people, empowered in a free country to live their own version of the American Dream.

John Stossel, in his book, Give Me a Break, shared a graph of Federal spending from 1789 to 2003. The line is all but flat until World War II. When America began, the government cost the average citizen $20 a year in today's money. Taxes rose during wars, but for most of the history of American spending never exceeded a few hundred dollars per citizen per year. During World War II, the government got much more significant. It was supposed to shrink again after the war, but it never did. It just kept expanding. Now, if the 334.2 million Americans were actually paid the $6.2 trillion federal budget, it would cost every man, woman, and child in this country just above $18,550 a year. Lincoln would be in shock, and so should we!

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A government big enough to take care of our every need is a government big enough to take everything we have. We need politicians willing the care enough to say "NO" to out-of-control government spending!

To fuel your optimism for the future, consider purchasing Dr. Paulson's newly released  <http://tomeapp.com/joy> "Joy Comes with the Morning" course today! Get ready to enjoy the 31 short, recorded messages on your computer or smartphone. Each message is designed to expand and enhance your joy-filled faith experience whenever you need or want it. Visit http://tomeapp.com/joy tomeapp.com/joy to start bringing more Christian joy to your morning today. Contact him at  <mailto:terry@terrypaulson.com> terry@terrypaulson.com.

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