Saturday, May 09, 2009

Defining Welfare Success

By no means would I consider the programs designed to help minorities in our country to be a complete success.  But I'm not even sure how to define success.  I mean, the point of a program like welfare wasn't to make self-sufficient people, but merely to prevent people who weren't self-sufficient from suffering.  And more importantly, to insure that the children of non-self-sufficient people wouldn't be too negatively impacted by their parents' insufficiencies.  

And in that regard, these programs can be considered successful.  But programs like welfare and food stamps were nothing more than bandaids for a much bigger problem that they couldn't possibly have solved.  But rather than realize that these were short-term fixes that required long-term answers, too many people washed their hands of the whole thing and considered their job done.  The woes of poverty were lessened, and now it's time to get back to enjoying life, guilt-free.  They cured the worst symptoms of poverty, but failed to address the more complicated causes of it.

But for as difficult as it may be to define what "success" means for these programs, it's quite idiotic to suggest that the purpose of these programs was malevolent.  Unless, of course, you're a conservative.  Apparently, conservatives have somehow conjured up some evil plot in which liberals created a poverty situation that they then "solved" in order to woo black people to vote for them.  And the black people continue to vote for them in order to avoid going back to the old ways of doing things, which, in conservative minds, was somehow better for black people than the current system. 

History Never Happened

But this is utterly retarded.  I mean, we know what the old system was and that things were worse for people.  We know this.  Programs like Welfare and Affirmative Action were designed specifically because the "free market" wasn't doing the job; nor could it.  And a big part of this was that the "free market" wasn't really allowed to work, because racism blinded people and prejudiced them against giving equal treatment to black people.  Not only did racists not want to hire a qualified black person, they didn't want minorities to obtain the education necessary to become qualified. And so liberals created these programs in order to combat these problems.  

And conservatives do this sort of thing with all liberal programs.  We're to imagine that environmental laws and labor laws and SEC regulations were created to solve problems that didn't exist.  To conservatives, polluted rivers, child labor, and financial fraud never happened.   They were just bogeymen that liberals conjured up because we love government so much.  And this is all batshit crazy, yet they insist that this is the case.  

And the only "proof" they have is that this is the only way their arguments make any sense.  Because if these liberal programs were created to solve real problems, then the conservative solution is just wrong.  And that's most definitely the case.  America knows what happens when the "free market" is allowed to have free rein and we don't like it.  But of course, conservatives don't really want "free" markets.  They want markets they can manipulate using the methods that government regulations outlaw, which is the main reason they're against these regulations.  
Promoting Equality

The government acts as a referee so we all get a fair shake, and conservatives can't stand that.  And getting back to the point at hand, it bugs the hell out of them that a poor kid doesn't have to pay for the lunch that a rich kid's parents pay for.  And they have no problem when a kid is given special treatment by Yale because his dad is a rich alum, but are outraged when a kid is given special treatment to promote cultural diversity.  

Because even Affirmative Action programs weren't meant to be the "final" answer to these problems, but yet another bandaid to fix a problem requiring a long-term solution.  And the long-term solution is to finally fix the inequities that created the need for Affirmative Action.  But conservatives oppose those solutions too.  They want the "market" to be the final arbiter of justice, not because they understand how the market works, but merely because they imagine that it'll help them win.  And that's what this is really all about.

None of this is to suggest that liberals have all the right answers, but so far, conservatives still refuse to acknowledge that the problems even exist.  Some day, this country will be divided between two parties that offer real solutions to our problems, but until then, we're stuck with willfully blind conservatives and their "free market solution," which consists of ignoring all problems.  They'll scream bloody murder that liberals don't have the right answer, but until they start offering solutions, we'll continue as the only game in town.

I actually had an entirely different point to make on this subject, but this is already too long, and so it ends.  Maybe I'll write the real point later tonight.

1 comment:

Donald Douglas said...

American Power tracked-back, with "Blog Watch: Sadly No!.