May 19 2011
Hand Up, Not a Hand Out
During the budget debate in the South Carolina Senate I made the illustration that South Carolina Medicaid is a “Mercedes insurance plan”. In my pharmacy I work with hundreds of health insurance plans and none offer benefits comparable to our Medicaid system. Hard working South Carolina taxpayers are forced to pay for premium coverage for others. These same hard working taxpayers could never afford these benefits themselves. Where’s the fairness in that? Welfare programs should be a “hand up” instead of a “hand out”. Government assistance should be a temporary benefit instead of a lifestyle.
I am trying to convince my Senate colleagues that our focus should be on those unable to help themselves. The priorities should include our low-income elderly needing nursing home care, yet recent cuts may lead to less nursing home beds. Social assistance should include our mentally disabled population unable to pursue their own provisions, yet these programs have been reduced. My heart goes out to single moms struggling to provide for their children. We can do better at requiring dead-beat dads to provide for their kids. It’s his responsibility, not the taxpayer.
Employers witness objectionable attitudes regularly. A concrete business owner was told “this is hard work, I’d rather stay at home and draw my check.” My office offered to assist a constituent in finding a job. The answer was “I’m not interested in a job, I want to keep drawing my check.” To the taxpayer, this familiar mindset is disgusting.
Senator Jim DeMint said it best: “We can’t just keep paying people to stay at home, we’ve got to create economic activity to allow businesses to grow so they can hire people.”
I have supported efforts to increase payments to the unemployment debt we owe the Federal Government. This debt payment will result in immediate reduction in taxes for every employer in South Carolina, increasing their ability to hire. History has proven that when you reduce taxes, you stimulate the economy. Increasing job creation ability will surely help our suffering unemployed citizens that want work. When we help folks find a job, we help them be self-supporting.
Excessive welfare benefits are not only offensive to the taxpayer footing the bill, the handouts also impede on the liberty of the beneficiary; prolonging government dependency.
In Barry Goldwater’s Conscience of a Conservative, he said: “Indeed, this is one of the great evils of Welfarism – that it transforms the individual from a dignified, industrious, self-reliant spiritual being into a dependent without his knowing it.” I also agree with Goldwater’s assertion “I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom.”
Social programs should be reformed and must go to the truly needy; not the greedy seeking an easier path to avoid a job.
Kevin Bryant represents Anderson County in the South Carolina Senate. www.kevinbryant.com