"We urge you, our friends, to warn the idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone." I Thessalonians 5:14
An important issue to consider in any election cycle whether it is the Presidential election or the off-year Congressional election is the matter of welfare reform.
It is a noble thing to care about the underprivileged and have a desire to help meet their needs. In fact, that is one of the responsibilities Jesus assigned to the Church.
But the question is, "Are we using our resources to assist in the most effective and efficient ways?"
Consider some facts shared by Dr. Jim Garlow in his book, "Well Versed" - Biblical answers to today's tough issues:
"No one begrudges helping a person in need. Americans are generous. They want to help those legitimately in need. But the definitive word is 'legitimately'". Some facts:
- The State of was spending $12 million in Medicaid payments for dead people.
- Pennsylvania gave welfare to millionaire lottery winners.
- A Chicago man used 3,000 food stamp cards to steal $1,000,000.
- Fraudsters in Minnesota lied about their incomes. The State had not adequately verified eligibility, finding 17% of individuals ineligible for the benefits they were receiving."
I'm sure these few examples only scratch the surface of the corruption, fraud and incompetency that squanders untold amounts of taxpayers' money that could be used to assist truly needy people.
I want to vote for people who are willing to tackle this waste, fraud and abuse! I want to vote for leaders who will push for and promote systemic solutions that will seriously address this problem for generations to come.
Former Florida Governor, Jeb Bush, shared these wise insights into the problem of poverty: "Three things will lift people out of poverty: work, marriage, and a high school education, at least."
No matter what you think of Jeb Bush it is hard to dispute his conclusions about causes (and solutions) to poverty. Studies have borne this out and common sense and observation agrees.
It will be easier to encourage welfare recipients to work if there are more and better paying jobs available. We need to elect a Presidential candidate who will get government regulations and restrictions off of both small businesses and large. There are currently 95,000,000 Americans who are out of the workforce. Never has our nation had that many people not working. Granted, some are retired people but the majority are people who would rather earn their leaving than get a check from their government.
If we want to attack poverty we need someone who will strengthen traditional families and stand for traditional marriage. A candidate for President who is willing to reform welfare so it rewards marriage and discourages the absent fathers and out of wedlock births would address one of the roots of poverty in America.
We need a candidate who will decentralize education and get the control and decision-making authority back in the states and local communities across America. I could support someone who would support home schooling, charter schools and school vouchers. My perfect candidate would shut down the Department of Education and put pressure on Teacher's Unions to become more merit based in their promotions. I would love to see trade schools and vocational programs added at the high school and community college level.
Liberal solutions to poverty have been disastrous. 22 trillions have been spent on poverty over the past 50 years while families have disintegrated, inner cities have become crime-ridden, neighborhoods have crumbled, jobs have disappeared, teen pregnancy rates have sky-rocketed and school drop-out rates are heart-breaking.
The Faith Community needs to become more intentional about tackling poverty in their own towns and cities. Every church can find a way to meet felt needs of underprivileged families so they can earn the opportunity to share the Gospel with them because the ultimate solution to poverty is the life-changing power of Jesus!
Cast your vote for a candidate who is courageous enough to attack poverty at the roots and be willing to allow real solutions that give a hand up not just a hand out.