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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Why Do So Many Go Hungry?

This is a title of a recent column by Anna Quindlen
It is a problem she lays directly at the feet of government and this administration in particular.

Poverty has not been discussed much by the current administration, which was wild to bring freedom to the Iraqis but not bread to the South Bronx.

In the view of Quindlen, and many like her, poverty is a problem for the government to resolve. Poverty is just one of many problems that folks like Quindlen think is the responsibility of the government. Many times they frame the arguement into one of moral responsibility. Here is a comment from an individual of like mind to Quindlen from another of my diaries.

In the name of Jesus, what is wrong with helping to provide for the common good? Did Jesus say at the sermon on the mount, "Blessed are those financially well off enough to pay for private medical insurance?" Did He say "Blessed are the ones who only serve their self interests?"Since when did health become a privilege? Does the Declaration of Independance say "...the privelage of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness...?"

Doesn't the Constitution say "...promote the general Welfare...?"I'm sorry I have to disagree with the naysayers who whine about their tax dollars going to pay for the general welfare of our society and our health. That's not big government that's responsible government. That's not the government intruding into your life. That's the government helping its people. A government is only as effective as the people who run it. And as long as we continue to sit idly by and let it "run itself" it's only gonna get worse. If we take the government back into our own hands as a real American society we can curb the corruptionthat has left us with unregulated pharmaceutacle pricing practices, and rediculous malpractice insurance premiums that doc's have to pay and pass the cost onto the patient to stay afloat.

Quindlen, not surprisingly, frames much of the rest of her arguement with allusions to Jesus as well. Jesus, of course, meant personal charity not charity taken forcefully by the government. Neither Quindlen, or this commenter, ever extol the virtues of personal charity. Instead, all those things that Jesus wanted for citizens to do for the less fortunate, those like Quindlen want the government, through our tax dollars, to do for everyone.

It is this sort of moral arguement that brought us such government programs as the ponzi scheme known as social security. It brought us Title IX, the Federal Farm Board, Medicare, the Endangered Species Act and many other well intentioned and ultimately counter productive and bloated government programs. In fact, the Great Society, the mother of all government programs, was supposed to end poverty and hunger forty years ago. Despite its obvious failings, Quindlen believes that it still government's responsibility to feed the homeless, and federal government no less. I had a similar argument with a liberal friend of mine about socialized medicine. In his defense of socialized medicine, he asked why, in America, everyone doesn't have the right to free quality health care. (To which I responded that the only rights we have in America are those enumerated in the Constitution) It is this sort of EMOTIONAL arguement that liberals have been using, effectively many times, to convince the public that it is government's role to solve many of our problems: hunger and health care included.

In my business, mortgages, there are two sorts of people: emotional and logical. The logical borrowers are always easy to deal with. They are convinced by the numbers because numbers are logical. The numbers always tell the story in mortgages. If I have a good deal for someone, the numbers will speak for themselves and logical people will always find the answer in them.

Emotional people, on the other hand, are loose cannons. Anything can set them off and you appeal by pushing their so called button. You sell to them by appealing to their basest emotion, and of course, figuring that out is the trick. They of course can be set off by anything. I once had an emotional borrower flip out because an appraiser still hadn't called an hour after they were supposed to. Given that a reasonable mortgage process can take up to a month (and an unreasonable one even longer) you can see what a tight rope an emotional person can be through such a process.

As far as politics is concerned, Quindlen and her ilk, occupy the emotional end of the spectrum. (I pointed out recently how the NY Times used such an emotional arguement in mortgages) Remember, it was the Democrats who trotted out Graeme Frost (just look at the picture, are you really going to say no to him) during the SCHIP debate. There is of course no rational or logical reason for expansion of government, especially into things not found in the Constitution, so the only arguement left is emotional.

There are two problems with those that use an emotional arguement. The first is that it is usually wrong. The logical arguement is the sensible one, and if someone could make a logical arguement, they would. The second problem is that most people aren't sophisticated enough to realize this. That is why the Dems are winning the SCHIP debate. It is why faulty government programs like social security, Medicare, and the Federal Farm Board become law. While there maybe no logical reason for having them, they can be sold by appealing to emotion. Most of the folks, just aren't frankly smart enough to realize what is going on, and ultimately they get sold a bill of goods.

Finally, if we all truly believe in the philosophy of Jesus, we wouldn't need government programs to solve any of these problems. Thus, here are some ways YOU can help the poor and homeless in my hometown of Chicago. If you don't live in Chicago, then Google your hometown like I did mine.

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