Sunday, December 02, 2007

Why Does Our Government Overwhelm the Overwhelmed?

Jefferson Parish president, Aaron Broussard, openly wept during a television interview in which he declared, "Bureaucracy has committed murder here in the greater New Orleans area, and bureaucracy has to stand trial," after the Katrina debacle, when more red tape was added for the victims of this terrible disaster.

Hurricane Katrina illuminated the issue of how often unnecessary procedures and red tape keep most of the poor or "almost poor" in America permanent members of the underclass. Government programs impose more hurdles on people, most of whom can barely keep their heads above water as it is. Instead of throwing the drowning person a life preserver or rope, he is handed a complicated instruction manual on how to save himself.

It seems as if the Bush Administration's mission is to not only ensure the permanency of this country's underclass but to increase its membership exponentially.

A few years ago, when the Bush Administration was pushing for somewhere between a half trillion and three quarters of a trillion dollars in new tax cuts for wealthy Americans, they were also planning to get tougher with the working poor by forcing EITC (Earned Income Tax Credits) recipients to go through a precertification process because the EITC was actually helping the working poor. The [EITC] credit is already confusing for taxpayers considering the instruction manual alone is 54 pages. Yet, the Bush Administration wanted to make it a little bit tougher for this group of Americans, some of whom work two and three jobs just to make ends meet.

Many people complain that these social programs designed to help the poor will foster dependence on the government and instead of a safety net, will become a way of life. The problem with that argument is that many of the working poor are working around the clock and still can't pay their bills; can't take their children to the doctors; and can't help their children with homework when children need help more than ever to keep up with "No Child Left Behind".

"If you give a person a fish, he eats for a day; teach him to fish, and he will eat for a lifetime," is a favorite quote of those opposed to welfare yet the way our system is set up it does the exact opposite. People in need do not get a chance to "learn to fish for a lifetime" because either they are working too many hours to find the time to locate these programs and climb through all the hoops necessary to gain entrance, or they fail to qualify because they're working.

Government bureaucracies are structured to obstruct those less fortunate from working their way out of the underclass because the people at the top want to stay on top. In order for those at the top to stay in control a certain percentage of the population must be kept busy struggling to survive. This will prevent a large number of the "underclass" from discovering what's really going on which may unite them to become a force to be reckoned.

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