America Before the Entitlement State

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Wiseacre, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. Wiseacre
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    Wiseacre Retired USAF Chief Supporting Member

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    The following is from Forbes.com, talking about how Americans coped with social justice before the advent of big gov't handouts. If I thought the gov't was more efficient and effective, if I thought they were doing a better and more impartial job of helping the less fortunate, if I thought their programs weren't rife with fraud, waste, and outright theft, then I could see supporting those entitlement programs. But they ain't and I don't.


    snippet:

    Reacting to calls for cuts in entitlement programs, House Democrat Henry Waxman fumed: “The Republicans want us to repeal the twentieth century.” Sound bites don’t get much better than that. After all, the world before the twentieth century–before the New Deal, the New Frontier, the Great Society–was a dark, dangerous, heartless place where hordes of Americans starved in the streets.

    Except it wasn’t and they didn’t. The actual history of America shows something else entirely: picking your neighbors’ pockets is not a necessity of survival. Before America’s entitlement state, free individuals planned for and coped with tough times, taking responsibility for their own lives.

    In the 19th century, even though capitalism had only existed for a short time, and had just started putting a dent in pre-capitalism’s legacy of poverty, the vast, vast majority of Americans were already able to support their own lives through their own productive work. Only a tiny fraction of a sliver of a minority depended on assistance and aid–and there was no shortage of aid available to help that minority.



    AND

    “Those in need,” historian Walter Trattner writes, “. . . looked first to family, kin, and neighbors for aid, including the landlord, who sometimes deferred the rent; the local butcher or grocer, who frequently carried them for a while by allowing bills to go unpaid; and the local saloonkeeper, who often came to their aid by providing loans and outright gifts, including free meals and, on occasion, temporary jobs. Next, the needy sought assistance from various agencies in the community–those of their own devising, such as churches or religious groups, social and fraternal associations, mutual aid societies, local ethnic groups, and trade unions.”

    One of the most fascinating phenomena to arise during this time were mutual aid societies–organizations that let people insure against the very risks that entitlement programs would later claim to address. These societies were not charities, but private associations of individuals. Those who chose to join would voluntarily pay membership dues in return for a defined schedule of benefits, which, depending on the society, could include life insurance, permanent disability, sickness and accident, old-age, or funeral benefits.

    Mutual aid societies weren’t private precursors to the entitlement state, with its one-size-fits-all schemes like Social Security and Medicare. Because the societies were private, they offered a wide range of options to fit a wide range of needs. And because they were voluntary, individuals joined only when the programs made financial sense to them. How many of us would throw dollar bills down the Social Security money pit if we had a choice?

    Only when other options were exhausted would people turn to formal private charities. By the mid-nineteenth century, groups aiming to help widows, orphans, and other “worthy poor” were launched in every major city in America. There were some government welfare programs, but they were minuscule compared to private efforts.

    In 1910, in New York State, for instance, 151 private benevolent groups provided care for children, and 216 provided care for adults or adults with children. If you were homeless in Chicago in 1933, for example, you could find shelter at one of the city’s 614 YMCAs, or one of its 89 Salvation Army barracks, or one of its 75 Goodwill Industries dormitories.

    America Before The Entitlement State - Forbes
     
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    Last edited: Nov 19, 2011
  2. Dragon
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    Dragon Senior Member

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    Ágrarian economy. Rural population. Night and day.

    Nice try, though.
     
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  3. daveman
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    daveman Diamond Member

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    No, it's not. It is, however, a necessity of political survival for liberals.
     
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  4. daveman
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    daveman Diamond Member

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    And it couldn't work today because...?


    Oh, yeah...the left has created too large a population utterly dependent on government.
     
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  5. Wiseacre
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    Wiseacre Retired USAF Chief Supporting Member

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    New York? Chicago? You sure the differences between then and now means that what worked then won't work now? Based on what?

    You can blow it off if you want to, but the fact remains that what we're doing now is unsustainable. Not sure when lib/dems will realize it, if ever. I have no doubt that as we've fallen off the economic cliff and are on our way down, the lib/dems will be blaming the con/repubs for not raising taxes higher.
     
  6. bripat9643
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    bripat9643 Diamond Member

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    Left-wingers believe if they can mutter a few magical incarnations that they have disposed of an argument. They don't need to prove their excuse is valid. Merely uttering it is sufficient.
     
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  7. WillowTree
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    WillowTree Diamond Member

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    It won't be an entitlement state for long. the gimmmie gimmmie mo mo mo taker crowd is fixin to overtake the giver crowd,, and lot's of givers have given up giving and moved.. to greener pastures.. so the gimmmie gimmmie crowd better come up with a plan B..
     
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  8. Soggy in NOLA
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    Soggy in NOLA Platinum Member

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    What planet do you live on? There have bustling metropolises since the early part of the 20th century. The grand daddy of all stupid entitlement programs, which has een enhanced for decades, didn't kick in until the early 60's.

    Go read a book.
     
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  9. daveman
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    daveman Diamond Member

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    Europe is in free fall now, and the libs still want to emulate their policies.

    Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to vote Democrat.
     
  10. The T
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    The T George S. Patton Party Supporting Member

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    ...by lawful theft.
     

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