The party has finally understood why polls show that while Democrats are described as "unethical" and "the tax party" the Republicans are described as "mean" and "abusive". Both parties should take full responsibility for the wonderful fact that they are trusted less than the media or organized labor.
Even Senator Dan Coats, an anti-liberal if one exists, stated recently, "We should not ignore the potential for suffering in our cities when government retreats. There is not - and could never be - a government plan to rebuild civil society. But there must be ways to actively take the side of people and institutions who are rebuilding their own communities and who often feel isolated and poorly equipped."
To quote E. J. Dionne, Jr. of the Washington Post, "That may sound enough like LBJ's Community Action Program to make conservatives cringe. But after a long period when few politicians would utter a word about poor people, it's good to hear these guys say it aloud."
Both parties are finally beginning to comprehend the fact that all government policies affect individual actions. The Democrats are realizing that throwing money at national problems creates altogether new and usually unexpected dilemmas within society. The Republicans, chanting their mantra about Welfare causing society's breakdown while conveniently ignoring Corporate Welfare's influence, are apparently coming to the realization that the poor have moral values as good or better than those the GOP claims to have. It isn't the moral values of the poor that should ever have been in question but rather how can government and communities work together to solve the problem of poverty in the world's richest nation if we decide that the federal government must not be allowed to be the major sponsor of that assistance. Basically, the question should have always been; if what we are doing isn't working, then how can we change the system in order to correct the problem.
The question now, though, is what community groups to support? The churches are a possibility but an option loaded with pitfalls. Direct government support of religion is a completely unacceptable choice as it is in direct conflict with the foundation of our country and it's doctrine of separation of church and state. After the debacles of the last decade with religious leaders and money, particular care would have to be involved in this choice. Perhaps a dollar for dollar tax break for those individuals who donate directly to church programs solely targeted at alleviating local poverty. The requirements for this tax break must be stringent controls on the program's budget. A miniscule percentage of total donations should be allowed for overhead and the beneficiaries of the monies spent cannot be restricted to persons of any particular religious creed or national origin. Strict parameters must be set to measure the success of any such program, no matter the sponsor, as well.
There are many charitable organizations already in place, moreover. Again, though, oversight is of utmost importance. The tendency of far too many Americans is to take the money and run and that proclivity must be restrained to the absolute degree possible.
The recent decision to give the money and the power to the states to decide how best to deal with those in poverty is absurd. Let's use California's governor as an excellent example of this point. Pete Wilson has stated time and again that his ultimate goal is to abolish all government assistance to the poor. At best, a hateful person such as this is the last friend the needy women and children need. To leave the impoverished at the mercy of fifty different political machines is just unadulterated stupidity. The federal government must set the rules and be there to enforce them. Any other method is just an excuse to punish the poor in whatever way the local political machines and current political trends can devise.
At the very least, some very powerful conservatives are finally admitting that their headlong rush to destroy all forms of Welfare for the poor is wrong and must be reexamined. If the rest of the conservatives in power listen to the voice of the people, perhaps we can finally begin the search for a solution that doesn't accompany spite or pure partisanship. Of course, the conservatives who wish to improve America will have to deal with the likes of Dick Armey who has said that, "Every morning I wake up and happily try to devise another way to make life miserable for Democrats." Now there is a bridge builder and a master of compromise, huh?
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