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Ignorance of BYU Students

I opened up today's Daily Universe to read the letters to the editor (I can always use a good laugh at 8AM), and found that I actually wanted to confront two of the authors, one of whom I will address here.

The first person, David Christensen, wrote about how he's tired of paying high bankroll taxes ("paying for others' food, house, and kids"). [Sorry no link available yet-- only the printed edition is out now].

First of all, I'm sick and tired of people making assumptions up about welfare. The Utah budget (that Medicaid is paid out of, and that David referenced) spends 7.5% of its budget on welfare. That's right, 7.5%. Where does the Utah budget get it's money? According to records, 46.4% comes from income tax and 40.6% comes from sales and use tax. I wonder how much Mr. Christensen contributes. I consider myself a pretty average employed student. I think last year I paid the state of Utah less than $100 in income tax. Who knows how much sales tax, whatever percent of however many thousands of dollars we spent.

It's the mindset that makes me feel this hostility, as if half the population is getting weekly checks from the government and buying brand new cars and mansions. Lose the ignorance, David, and all you other students who have inherited your beliefs from your self-righteous parents. How much are you actually paying? How many people do you personally know that receive welfare? How many would you consider abusive of the system? Sure abuse exists. How much money does it actually account for? This is what Curtis referred to as swatting at the gnat while swallowing a camel. I'm so tired of this attitude. I've seen abuse of the system firsthand, but I've also known people who were genuinely hard working folks who needed help and don't get it from Daddy Warbucks. People talk about getting rid of welfare, it isn't the government's responsibility. Well, whose is it? How much money do you donate to charities? How far along in life would you be without the help of others? I recommend the words of King Benjamin, "Perhaps though shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery, therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just-- But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent, and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God. For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend on that same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?"

He also implies that (student) parents should take a year off if the cost of school is too much. Who does that help? A year off means a year of scraping by, maybe paying debts, maybe saving for a year, or maybe not. What it definitely means is at least a year before graduating, which means another year before these people can get good, education-required jobs, which means a year before they can start pouring real money back into the economy.

The rest is personal, it doesn't really contribute to my rant.

This issue really affects me for a couple of reasons. First, because I grew up lower middle class or upper lower class, depending on how you want to look at it. I was always embarassed by the clothes I wore, I never wanted anyone to see me get into the cars my parents drove, and was humiliated to have friends over because we had a picnic table as a kitchen table. I had to get the "blue ticket," for school lunches, which was a public display that I had reduced fare, while all the other kids had white tickets. Neither of my parents has a college education (though my dad frequently lies about it, despite the fact that I've got copies of his university records), and they've been fined for tax evasion (again, that would be my dad). Their divorce didn't make things any easier. I've been on my own since I was sixteen. I had a roof over my head, and that was it. No help for a car (to get to work), gas, or insurance, no clothes, no food... they did pay in about $3000 for my mission, over the course of the two years. No college help, whatsoever. Now some of you know that since I married, we were surprised with a pregnancy and even more surprised with twins. Things went downhill quick, with my wife on bedrest (two months pregnant) and requiring three-times-a-week trips to a specialist in Salt Lake. Insurance? Ha ha ha... ever checked the cost of insurance for a non-student (she was working just under full time at a new job) with maternity coverage? $2300 a semester, if I remember. We started to buy it (with a credit card, since we had no other way), but found out we were easily qualified for Medicaid. It's a good thing, too, since the next five months bills' were over a half million dollars. Now we get WIC-- it's not food stamps, it's a different program, so I've learned. It provides us with some formula. Not enough, and nothing else, but some. And thank goodness, since the stuff costs $13 a can and we go through four or five cans a week. So she works now, and I work. I'm taking 23 credits so I can graduate faster than planned and become a father who can actually provide, I work 25 hours a week, she works 30+ hours a week. The average day consists of me getting up at 6AM, changing diapers and feeding babies, going to school, going to my on-campus job, then my wife picks me up at 5PM, and we have to hurry, because that's when her shift starts, I go home and take care of the kids (while doing homework), then pick my wife up when she gets off, usually around 11PM. Repeat four more times, and then she usually has to work either Saturday or Sunday. At the start of this semester, we had $27k school debt, $9k of credit card debt (almost all from gas during her pregnancy and groceries for the last year), and a car loan. We get zero help from outsiders, aside from "welfare" (in quotes because I pay the damn taxes just like everyone else). Without medicaid and WIC, we'd have more debt than we could ever realistically pay off, and I'd be working 10 hour days doing construction just to maintain expenses. Getting a degree will allow me to find a real job and to pay off debts, pay more taxes, and support my family.

Don't tell me I'm/we're lazy and that's why we get welfare.

Also, that 7.5% I wrote is

Also, that 7.5% I wrote is for, "Health" expenditures, which I'm sure covers a whole lot more than just Medicaid. Here's the linky.

good points, Farker

I think you are correct in assuming that many of us have a naive understanding of the welfare system. If we could even fathom the amount of money that we spend on weapons in comparison to what we spend on welfare, I think people would start to get upset. But you're right. We should look at this problem in its context.

"At the start of this semester, we had $27k school debt, $9k of credit card debt (almost all from gas during her pregnancy and groceries for the last year), and a car loan"

What on earth were you doing getting married and having children? How does that make any sense? Shouldn't you have waited to wed until you had a house and a job and could provide for those little kids?

I don't mean to make this personal, but it seems much of your position is due to your own decisions. And since you made your decisions public, I guess that means I can comment on them. But really, Farker, why is this anyone else's duty to clean up? You get married. You have the kids. And now you berate us with scriptures because we don't help you with your financial woes? I could understand the help if you were a child, but you're not. You're a grown adult. Isn't there a difference?

I sympathise with your position. But, not too long ago, I knew a couple that were getting on the dole in order to be 'righteous' and have children even though they couldn't afford them. I know that they are not alone in their thinking. And that simply blows my mind.

Having government welfare is

Having government welfare is another one of those gray areas for me. On the one hand, we need to take care of the poor. If we didn't have taxes, we probably should be donating similar percentages of our income to charitable causes anyways. It's just that the government tends to be quite inefficient whenever it gets its greasy paws on anything --costing us $2 to give away every $1, etc. But the fact is, we have government-run welfare, and it's not going to go away anytime soon.

Therefore, I have no problem with anyone who qualifies for welfare taking it. Depending on where you're at in life, you either have been paying into it with taxes your whole life, or you will be paying into it for the rest of your life. Poor college students probably have more of a right to it than others, in my opinion, since they will typically be in the higher income brackets after they graduate and ultimately contribute more to the state coffers. So I see no problem with them getting a little help to get started.

I'm a poor boy too

I lived in Milwaukee Wisconsin for 4 years going to graduate school there. I lived in government subsidized housing there for 3.5 of those years. We paid 1/3 of our income toward rent. Our only income was school loans. School loans don't count as income under the rules so our income was zero. Most of you are bright enough to figure out what 1/3 of zero is. We lived in a 3 bedroom townhouse with a washer and dryer hookup. Not only us, but there were 20 other young mormon families in graduate school there in the same complex. In another complex there were another 20 young mormon families. I could never have made it thru school financially without that help (you can't fit a side job in while you're in medical school). I also have had WIC for all 4 of my kids (we got peanut butter and vegetables and cornflakes and milk as well) and medicaid. I'm still a pretty poor guy right now (residents don't make that much) and my kids all get free school lunch.
I would like to thank you all personally and especially your parents for paying their taxes.
On the flip side, I will now become a big doctor and pay for a lot of people to live in the place I came from.
Sure, there are those who take advantage of welfare, but as members of this church, it is shameful the attitude that we take to beggars so often.
D&C 49:20 says: "But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin."
Unfortunately, we all too often show a desire to remain in that sin.

boo hoo

And yet you have time to waste on Provo Pulse?

We get zero help from outsiders, aside from "welfare" (in quotes because I pay the damn taxes just like everyone else)."

Do the math: You say you pay $100 a year to Medacaid. We'll say you make 10 times what you do now when you graduate. That means it will take you roughly 500 years to pay back what you've already taken out. Yeeeaaaah, you pay the "damn taxes just like everyone else."

Boo Hoo, Part Two

I'm going to side with the anti-welfare argument.

Simply put, I see no reason why you're entitled to my income more than I am.

Based on the slim amount of information you posted, we're probably in the same tax bracket. I work the same number of hours you do per week, and everything else.

The difference is that I'm not on welfare, and I generally don't support the idea of it.

That's right - I think that if you can't afford to support yourself, you have no business having a baby, knowing that the only way you can support two people, let alone three, is to register for government handouts. If you can't afford it, keep it in your pants or in a rubber, bucko. If you really plan to graduate and get a real job, it's not like you won't have 15 decent child-bearing years to play baby-factory.

Taxes were originally designed to support the "common good" - things like roads, public libraries, education, and the military. I think we ought to go back to that. Why? Because programs like WIC and subsidized housing obviously AREN'T the "common good" because I'm not benefitting from them - I pay money into the system, but get nothing back unlike roads, military, libraries etc. You're telling me that you want me to work a little extra every week, because it's not fair that you're poor? Screw off, I am too, I'm just responsible enough to not demand a freebie. I get no subsidized housing, utilities, food, or assistance, but you do, despite the fact we're in similar situations. No offense, but it's not my problem if you can't afford stuff. Charity ought to be something that is donated to, not forced under the threat of incarceration.

Right now, my spouse and I together don't even reach 24K/year, yet people like YOU are fine with telling me that it's my responsibility to feed the kid that YOU produced. You see, unlike you, my wife and I are waiting until we're financially stable to have children - you know, being personally responsible? It's not that we don't want kids, it's that we can't afford them - just like you - only we choose not to suck off the government teat and are waiting until we're stable. I guess it's your right to have kids, but I don't see how it's your right to force me to comp them.

From the sounds of it though, you come from an "entitlement" family - tax evasion, reduced-fare lunches, and the like. Perhaps you've just inherited the "screw you, now hand over the goods" attitude.

Selfish Pricks

I can't believe how many people sit here and tear apart a man who is having difficulties and has just had twins who were unexpected. How can you sit here and basically say "screw you, it's your fault"? I'm sure there have been times in everyones life where they need some help. I'm sure that some day, when school is finished, "Farker" will have plenty of money to help out others that are in need. I give him props for not just dropping out of school during this hard time, but sticking with it, which mean that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I am a full time student, and make more than enough, and I am completely willing to help out the people who need help. If somebody is honestly trying to make it, which, this guy is working, going overtime at school, and his wife with 2 babies is going, you can't say they aren't trying. You all need to grow up and stop being such pricks. I just hope that someday when you have kids, you don't come crying for ANY help! Do it all yourself, and do it without medicaid, then we'll see who comes crying.

How 'bout some fundamentals?

Here are some fundamentals I think apply to this argument:

  • Receiving help from sources outside of one's own power is not an inalienable "right"
  • Christianity is not limited to supporting only inalienable "rights"
  • The government institutes many programs that begin with noble intent
  • Sometimes, for various reasons, these programs get twisted and distorted from their noble beginnings
  • Some people take advantage of government programs
  • Some people legitimately use/deserve the use of government programs
  • Unknown (by me) question:

  • Should government implement morally-based programs that fall outside of in-alienable rights?
  • Inalienable rights

    What are they? According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of we are a signator and a major power behind the document (Eleanor Roosevelt wrote much of it I believe), here are a few inalienable rights:

    These first two were too impressive for me to paraphrase:

    From Article 25) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

    And also from 25)Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

    And from article 23)Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

    Pretty impressive eh?
    Now, here's a list (not complete) of the rights listed, out of which a few, I might add, we are violators of.

    1) Life
    2) Liberty
    3) Security of person
    4) Freedom from slavery
    5) Freedom from torture
    6) Freedom from arbitrary arrest
    7) Freedom of movement within state
    8) Freedom to leave and return to country
    9) Asylum from persecution
    10)Nationality
    11)Marriage (as spouse is consenting)
    12)Protection of family by society and state
    13)Property ownership
    14)Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
    15)Freedom of opinion and expression
    16)Freedom of peaceable assembly and association
    17)Participation in Government
    18)Parents choice of childs education
    19)Free developement of personality
    20)Right to work without discrimination for equal pay
    21)Join unions
    22)Right to leisure with paid holidays
    23)Right to social protection (see above)
    24)Right to a free primary education

    Hahah....LOL

    i liked the number 22, 19 and 11. Let's sue.

    People

    People are understandably upset when they pay taxes into programs which they never use. It's sort of like making an investment in a company that goes bankrupt, except you get to do it every two weeks because the government compels you to. Therefore, I can sympathize with people who gripe about things like FICA, FDA, etc. for two reasons:
    1) Taxation without representation. I never voted to institute the Social Security Program, yet I'm compelled to pay into it, even though I would personally rather save for my own future on my own terms. Not to mention I don't agree with the principles behind the program anyway. I always got irked when I was working when I was 15, watching my money fuel a government whose officials I didn't even get to vote for.
    2) Lack of utility & efficiency. The government isn't exactly efficient, nor does it always serve the common good (what would be good for most people would be much much lower taxes). Many programs serve limited numbers of beneficiaries. I've never used Medicaid/Medicare in my life, yet I'm paying into those.
    That having been said, I sympathize with the plight of people who have unforeseen things occur in their lives. The loss of a spouse can be devestating, and an unexpected pregnancy can be very expensive.
    So, I would propose the following: Time-limited welfare, first of all. Once you're on the rolls, you get a fixed amount of time (say 1 year) to find a job, at which point they start reducing your welfare check by 10% a month. If you're unable to take care of your children, then they become wards of the state. Which brings me to my next point:
    No more welfare bonuses for having more children. Like what happened to Farker, unexpected pregnancies do happen, but seldom do they happen more than once in the span of a responsible person's poverty (no offense Farker). So, more children will not result in more welfare. If a person does get pregnant again and is unable to adequately provide for her child, he/she will be put up for adoption. Children deserve a better chance than that which such an irresponsible parent could provide. For folks such as Farker, student loans could be issued to those who have a good prospect of paying them back.
    If you're unemployed and not in school, I'd say you have no business having children. Yet that's exactly the typical WIC and TANF recipient.
    WIC and TANF are huge contributors to transgenerational poverty. It's time we stop rewarding laziness without adversely affecting those who are actually in need.

    Good question, but I think

    Good question, but I think you misunderstood (I probably wasn't clear). Our debt wasn't even remotely close to the said $36k when we got married. This was our debt at the start of THIS semester. Our kids are six months old. When we married, we had a little bit of debt... she had some school debt, and I had some, probably closer to about $11k, which isn't too much, I don't think, for two people. Zero credit card debt. I had to max out on school loans (I believe it was $10k) and use the "excess checks" to get by. As I wrote, her pregnancy required her to quit her job and go to Salt Lake three times a week for the duration of the pregnancy. She had been working close to full time and I was working about 20 hours a week with school. She quit and my hours dropped significantly (with having to drive her to the specialist) and so the excess checks from school loans paid rent, car payment, groceries, a lot of her medicines that weren't covered, and every other expense that crops up.

    And, like I said, it was a surprise pregnancy. Unplanned, unexpected. It happens. Even when we saw the positive test, it didn't seem to be too big of a deal, we figured our budget would be tight but we could handle a baby. Then the doctor told her to quit and I hadn't anticipated spending so much time and money on gas and the like to take her to Salt Lake.

    It's our first two kids, and will be the only two for a really long time.

    So, in a nutshell, that debt came because of the pregnancy, not before it. Before it we were financially stable. Actually even had a few thousand dollars tucked away for a rainy day. It rained.

    No, jackass. 1. I sit at a

    No, jackass.
    1. I sit at a computer half the day for work. ProvoPulse comes in when I'm done with my homework. I guess in the small minds of people like you, I ought to be working more, because only people that have comfortable financial lives are entitled to online discussions.
    2. I do pay taxes. The "welfare" argument implies that people receiving welfare are lazy, sit-around-the-house-do-nothing folks who live off the labor of others.
    3. Your math is completely irrelevant. Almost nobody pays for all their medical bills, whether their insurance or the government covers it. That's the reason people have coverage to begin with. Healthcare costs are a related issue. There's no reason that the pregnancy should have cost that much.
    4. You write as if you pay in more than, or equal to, what you get from your taxes. I seriously doubt that's the case, in which, you're in the same boat as me, receiving more than you pay in. So get off your high horse.

    again...whats the fuss about

    It's not like taxes are making us bankrupt. Its not like taxes are making us starve etc. Taxes are not necessarily a form of funding Govt. Welfare. They are used for more things than welfare. They are used for weapons for the defence of a nation. I understand there are valid arguements on how much should be spent where.

    Anyways getting back to this dicussion. I don't think it was good idea to post your personal situation on a public forum like this. At least you could have written this in a third person. I mean begging for sympathy actually repels people.

    I agree with Bboy-Mike that when people get married they need to remind themselves that they are adults with responsbilities. At the same time, I do understand that marriage is important for a healthy society. I understand families are important too. But all within a balance. I sympathize with your current unavoidable situation, and don't necessarily want to comment on the pregnancy, as it has happened. I am happy that babies and your wife were fine after pregnancy.

    The whole reason sometimes people get ticked off with the welfare system is because, they think of it as a handout. I am no scholar in public policy decisions, but can the government not come up with a plan similar to "work for money". I mean rather than just giving out money and loans, they can put you up with a company where you will be required to work for a certain time. It sounds socialist, but you can always have the choice to leave, if you pay the money for breaking such contracts.

    And there is always the armed forces. It is not like every other person who joins the army dies or even is posted in a war zone. You can always get a great education by being sponsored by the Armed forces. Also there other non-combat positions like Coast-guard, Navy etc. If I was in your situation I would not hesistate to make that decision.

    Yes, I am one of those people who was born with a silver spoon (maybe a bronze spoon :)). Both my parents have worked hard and sacrificed a lot to get themselves out their poverty stricken lives, and made sure their kids never had to live through it. That said, I have never taken for granted
    every dollar I spend.

    Allrite, I don't where I going with this. The bottom line is that for future BYU couples who are planning on getting married and stuff, should understand the seriousness of their decisions and not be pressured by the "BYU" culture. I know this is a very popular "rant" topic here in Provo, but seriously there are more people here who are in debt that in other parts of the country. Also the attitude that people (apostate people) who wait to get married later (financially stable), are loosers or that their marriages are failures is shameful. It just reeks of the "self-righteousnes" attitude so prevelant here.
    That said I have few friends who got married early in college, but were able to have a kid and be financially stable, because they had charted things out well. Him being a smart engineer helped him make good money.

    All I am saying is that get a good education (as in an "employable" major/degree). You have to sacrifice a little family time to be financially stable. Yes money is not everything, but it is needed to feed a family. And if that means that one has to work Sunday's or Monday nights, there should not be second thoughts. Remind yourself, that you are in American where anything is possible. There are lot ways to get money, mostly through the Armed forces, and also through the Homeland security Bill etc. Keep the faith.

    I apologize if I my comment was insulting/hurtful or whatever. I guess I am just having a stressful day myself today:).

    I wish you and your family the best, and I am sure you will be able to come out of the situation successfully. Good Luck.

    I'm going to go ahead and

    I'm going to go ahead and discount your entire argument because you failed to read what I wrote several times, that being that the pregnancy was UNPLANNED, a SURPRISE, and NOT INTENDED. Apparently you need more clarification than I gave, so here's your seventh grade health lesson: Birth control is not 100% effective. You still following me? She was on birth control. It failed. Okay so far? So she was pregnant, to our SURPRISE. It got more complicated when we discovered it was actually two babies, and most pregnancies don't require the mother-to-be to see a specialist, 40 miles away, three times a week, and stay in bed the rest of the time.

    I tend to see this a lot with people who are against welfare, that is, they are very selective about the information they choose to read and respond to, ignoring reality. I wonder how applicable your comments would be if your wife got pregnant, despite birth control, had to go on bedrest, and then delivered twins.

    Your "entitlement" comments were a personal attack, which doesn't surprise me, but I wonder if you can imagine how I felt as a kid having the "poor family" lunch ticket and finding out my dad cheated on his taxes. Yeah man, I want to continue the trend. Maybe you inherited a sense of self-righteousness.

    sounds like you've got bigger problems

    Man, jlhlbib(or whatever your name is) I hope I don't know you. That was one of the most hate filled comments I've read on this site. You sound like an ignorant fool. I hope that's not the case. I don't know you. I don't know Farker. But, the fact that you personally attack him is ridiculous.

    You just showed us a great example of the kind of person Farker is talking about.

    Amongst the ignorant and

    Amongst the ignorant and soft-headed bupkis in your comment there are actually a few points that tug on my libertarian sympathies. I understand what you're saying, that basically it seems as if others' right to life/liberty/pursuit of happiness is greater than your right to own property (in the form of money, which is seized by the governement to support these kinds of programs).

    No offense, but it's not my problem if you can't afford stuff.

    The thing is, in a lot of cases it's not their problem either. A kid can't pick to be born rich or poor. Accidents happen, illness, etc. Some people just have bad luck. Some people are disabled or otherwise disadvantaged and can't make a living. Who's to say that in 5, 10, 15 years down the road something won't happen that will ruin you financially? In this sense, these taxes do support a common good. Personally, I didn't become fully converted to this argument until a gospel doctrine lesson a few years ago when someone pointed out that verse in the D&C that Curtis cited above. There really is no way around that one.

    Charity ought to be something that is donated to, not forced under the threat of incarceration.

    So true! In an ideal world, yes. I like to think if there was no government welfare that I would donate similar percentages of my income to private charities, and they would be MUCH more efficient at it. I think the LDS church does a good job of it; the help is there, but you're also expected to do some work in return. But in the real world, we have government sponsored welfare, and it's not going to go away anytime soon. Perhaps the people who are permanently on welfare could make license plates, or something.

    And here's something a little extra:

    Right now, my spouse and I...

    Based on that phrase right there, I want to ask if you fill out your FAFSA and get your Pell Grant each year like most married student couples. If you do, and you're fine with that, what's wrong with accepting government welfare?

    attitude toward welfare

    The attitude expressed by the jumble of vowels and consonants above is the opposite of that expressed by those in the Book of Mormon (during a more righteous period), found in Alma 1:30 where it says:

    30 And thus, in their prosperous circumstances, they did not send away any who were naked, or that were hungry, or that were athirst, or that were sick, or that had not been nourished; and they did not set their hearts upon riches; therefore they were liberal to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, whether out of the church or in the church, having no respect to persons as to those who stood in need.

    Though it is a difficult concept to really put into action, giving away to the poor and seeking not after riches, having all things common so there will be no more poverty etc. is necessary for our eternal salvation. This is not to be trifled with.

    Are you Elijah Hambrose with a pen name?

    So you're completely

    So you're completely self-sufficient, Iljhjb? You grow your own food?

    I know some people, aside

    I know some people, aside from online, who have this same attitude (as iljhjb-- not yours). Let me tell you what the average one of them is like.

    Living here in the apartment or house that their parents own. Driving the car their parents bought for them. Spring and summer term they'll go home and earn $25 an hour "working" for Dad, under the table of course. Once in a while they'll be in a bad mood because Mom asked them to cut down on how much they use the gas credit card. Other costs, like health insurance, aren't an issue, because their parents have that covered with their employment. They don't take vacations, they only fly home five times a year because that's when mom and dad buy their tickets.

    They tend to work part-time; work provides them with an additional aspect of social life and some cash for the weekends. They buy big-screen TV's and other toys, and say things like, "I'm a self-made man. The Church teaches self-sufficiency. You shouldn't get welfare. Taxes ought to be lowered, I'm paying too much into the system. Those bleeding-heart liberals are advocating laziness. People getting government support need to work [this is said, of course, with their vast economic and social class understanding]. If I can do it, so can you."

    That's my experience.

    "The Common Good"

    I'm sure you thought that you were doing something to promote good conservative values by railing on welfare, and in general I agree with you that the welfare system needs to be dramatically overhauled. Instead trying to raise the economic status of the people that the system is trying to help, it is forcing those same people to stay at the same economic level they are on. Welfare should be a temporary thing while people try to improve their economic status.

    Now, it is an entirely insane arguement that you make against Farker. You suggest that taxes are meant to support the common good yet you suggest that programs like WIC and Medicaid aren't for the common good. How is it possible that these programs do not support the common good? Let's consider a couple of scenarios.

    People are going to get sick no matter what. I haven't read any recent studies on this, but a few years back there was a study that suggested that as much as 50% of Americans didn't have any health coverage at all. If there wasn't subsidized health coverage available to these people what would happen in as much as 50% of that group fell ill? The economic reprecutions could be disasterous. In other words, 25% of the work force could go missing in a short period of time, and since there was no access to health care for them, they'd be gone for good. It's an extreme example, but when you consider the ramifications of this, how does this not qualify for the common good?

    Subsidized housing is always a fun one. But it sounds like you support making more people homeless. If more people are homeless that means we are dealing with more people who will lack the basic facilities to support their own life, creating an influx of crime and disease. On top of that, more jobs will be left unfilled because who really wants to hire somebody who looks like they live on the streets. Take it to a more macro economic scale. The GDP of the nation takes a serious hit because instead of a single digit percentage of people without jobs we start seeing double digit unemployment and larger than 5% of the population without anywhere to call home. If you want to argue that subsidized housing needs to be revamped, fine. But how can you argue that it is not supporting the common good?

    I don't know Farker, but it seems to me that he's trying to be a productive member of society. If that is the case, how is helping him not supporting the common good? Your argument almost sounds to me like you would suggest Farker's wife getting an abortion because the two of them couldn't fully support their family. There's some great conservative values right now.

    Did you know your tax dollars go to farmers so that they will not grow crops? Did you know that your tax dollars are subsidizing an entire industry in the farm belt that is essentially a wash? It takes just as much energy to produce ethanol as it does to spend it. Why don't you rail against those wastes of the governent that aren't for the common good? If you could produce a littany of arguments against all of the spending the government does that isn't for the common good, your argument might hold some weight, but until then you can't be considered anything more than somebody who flaps his gums without any kind of weight to back up the hot air you send into the atmosphere.

    Yeah, that partial list

    Yeah, that partial list strikes me as kind of long, too. I don't think welfare is a right entitled to all who need it, it's just the right thing to do, lengthy diplomatic declarations notwithstanding.

    Curtis is correct

    "but as members of this church, it is shameful the attitude that we take to beggars so often.
    D&C 49:20 says: "But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin."
    Unfortunately, we all too often show a desire to remain in that sin."

    This is correct. This perspective is proper to Curtis (and others like him) since they participate in this cycle of receiving when in need and gladly given to others when capable. The anti-Christian doctrine that "no one is entitled to anything they do not earn" falls hard and crumbles upon the principles of the Gospel.

    You made a lot of good

    You made a lot of good points. I wasn't offended. As I said several times before, our pregnancy was a total fluke. Birth control is not always 100% effective, so we've learned.

    And you're completely right, that government isn't efficient. We get WIC (different from food stamps, another thing I've learned) that provides for some formula. It requires that my wife attend a certain training session every two months I believe, where they teach you stuff and give you the coupons. So let me tell you about these coupons. First of all, there is an enormous amount of legal stuff with it. Don't do this, don't do that, if you try or do this, you lose your priviliges, blah blah blah. It's really kind of insulting. But at the same time, there have been a lot of problems with people abusing the welfare system and so it's somewhat necessary. So what they do is they give you these coupons that are valid at whatever stores allow them. If you lose the coupon, too bad. You go to the store and make sure that what you're getting fits the coupon. It's pretty specific: "1 can of XXX type of baby formula, not more than 13 oz, not to exceed $16.90" Then you go to check out, and someone at the register has to process the coupons. This takes an embarassing amount of time, and involves signing each item against the coupon. Then, it gets back to the gov't office and someone there process and records it.

    Why the heck not just give qualified people cans of formula? You can get it at Costco for a whole lot less, you can save the paperwork for everyone, and it's a lot less embarasssing.

    And yes, taxation without representation sucks, but my point of the original article was that what we pay into welfare programs, or rather, what the government spends on welfare programs, is a trivial amount compared to other expenditures, and yet a vast number of people get their bad attitudes from the media, which is rarely objective. Strain at a gnat and swallow a camel was the appropriate term. Also, I feel a great deal of hostility towards those people who slam state welfare but still live off their parents. They have problems with people who struggle and get government help, all the while living a rich life for no other reason than they were born into a financially stable family.

    We're all beggars.

    Come on Farker ... let's keep this civil.

    Come on Farker ... let's keep this civil.

    Welfare etc.

    Taxes are also spent on infrastructure and education. Those who complain about paying their taxes should remember that it is due to the taxpayer that they were able to get a primary education (unless they went to a private school that is). Of course we spent something like 455 billion dollars on the military last year where most other countries spend something like 10 billion each year. One can definitely argue that we don't need to be lining the big corporations pockets with the blood of our brothers and sisters.

    People getting ticked off at a handout is a reality in Babylon, but it shouldn't happen in the Church where the words of King Benjamin should be written in our hearts.

    Welfare is not avoidable in many situations. A woman whose husband has run off with his secretary and leaves her with the 4 kids definitely needs assistance. We need to value her motherhood enough to assist her. My personal opinion is that we should value the job a mother does so much that we should somehow support her in staying home with her kids. Limhi in the Book of Mosiah enforced welfare for war widows after the men were pulverized by the Lamanites 3 times in a row. Single moms make up a fairly large proportion of welfare recipients I'm sure. Surely we can be a little more generous.

    I do take issue with your suggestion that we shouldn't think twice about working on Sunday. There should be a few things sacred in life that nothing worldly should interfere with and the Sabbath day is one of them. Forgive me if you are not a member of the Church, but in most instances the sabbath should be a day of worship. It is a measuring stick for how much we want the Kingdom of God. It separates the men from the boys. Just a little friendly advice. Take it for what it's worth.

    I don't think it was good

    I don't think it was good idea to post your personal situation on a public forum like this. At least you could have written this in a third person. I mean begging for sympathy actually repels people.

    Ah, that's the beauty of internet anonymity. Unless we've got some serious investigators, only a couple of you know who I am. Even though I acknowledged these problems and everything, I did so knowing that those who know me in real life are, for the most part, unaware of my situation. But the gist of my submission wasn't to attract sympathy by any means. I don't feel sympathy for myself, I don't feel justified in what's going on; heck, I'm completely embarrassed about our finances. The point was that things happen. Growing up, I had zero control over my financial situation, and now, well, some unintended things have happened. Not that I regret them, but like anyone would, I wish the timing would have been better. As mentioned, it was a surprise, unintended pregnancy. I don't know what the percentage chance of that happening is (I don't want to get too specific here-- I think you understand what I'm saying), but we hit that 1-3%, or whatever it was. And then, we didn't expect it was going to be such a hard pregnancy, that it would require bedrest and trips to a specialist, and it would be TWO of them. I'm really not sure what we could have done differently, other than abstinence. Anyway, things happen. And I can empathize with those who find themselves in circumstances that require outside help. It takes a lot of humility to acknowledge to people (in person) that you're getting government help because you can't do it alone.

    BTW- I'm actually planning on joining the military upon graduation. Not my first choice, but as you mentioned it should do us a lot of good.

    not to mention the tax

    not to mention the tax credits for being married and having kids :)

    No he isn't. Elijah Ambrose

    No he isn't.

    Elijah Ambrose is my pen name, so why would I create another one? When I say something on this site (rarely anymore) it will be with this name.

    No no, he said, "common

    No no, he said, "common good." What he meant was, "my personal benefit."