Opinion: Independence, not welfare, should be for everyone

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Mary Daly, who lives in Peacham.

I am very glad that I call myself a Republican. Of course, I have done this my whole life so it isn’t new. So why would I celebrate this now? I find that we have a positive view point on life and look at the good in the world. It seems that the Democratic Party is very unhappy and Democrats are attempting to sway us to feel the same as they do. Then there is all the anger and unrest as demonstrated by the masses of protesters on a variety of issues and horrible mass shootings.

Bruce Parker/TNR

I believe that our government must practice fiscal responsibility and allow individuals to keep more of the money they earn. When I look at my electric bill, for instance, I am incensed. There is the regular charge for the electricity that I use each month. Then added are an Energy Efficiency Charge and Electric Assistance Program Fee. There has been talk of a carbon tax, which may still happen. These taxes are to help others weatherize their homes or buy an electric vehicle, for instance. Now, I know that I have spent several thousand dollars on insulated skirting and on new, more efficient storm doors on my modular home. I would never expect my neighbors and others to help me with those costs.

Then there are the welfare programs for which the taxpayers are responsible for the costs but have little control about how that money is spent. I am very aware that there are individuals who are destitute and need help, and I am thankful that I am not one of them. But giving many of these individuals assistance without an expectation of a return is merely enslaving them in the programs. I spent much of my career as a rehabilitation nurse. Our job was to teach the patients to learn how to care for themselves and to become as independent as possible within the limits of their disability. It was satisfying to watch these severely disabled individuals accomplish goals as they progressed through their program. It would be a great improvement of the welfare programs if there were an expectation of less dependence built in. Notice, I did not say the goal would be independence for everyone. There are some who will not be able to make significant progress. We all have strengths and those could be identified and used to allow the individual to have a sense of accomplishment. Think how good it is to learn a new skill or be able to advance toward independence, even if it is just baby steps.

As an RN I have also worked in the home health care industry. The largest frustration when working with patients who were getting state support was based on rules. When it was possible for a patient to progress toward a goal, the rules often got in the way. Say the goal was to become employed at an entry level, and they would risk losing a needed benefit to stay afloat temporarily; if the welfare system were more client oriented, it would be possible to continue getting help to support them through the transition process. Fear of losing essential benefits often prevents progress toward independence.

Those who administer these programs need to do a self-assessment. Does their satisfaction come from keeping their people on their program and helping them by giving assistance? Would their sense of satisfaction be greater as they were able to expect their clients to become less dependent or even independent? And then what about the clients themselves? Would it not be better for them to know the satisfaction of being independent or less dependent? I know, for myself, that helping severely injured patients to regain function within the limits of their disability was extremely rewarding. Shouldn’t those types of rewards be extended to the clients of the welfare programs?

One Republican mantra applies here: I believe that the strength of our nation lies with the individual and that each person’s dignity, freedom, ability and responsibility must be honored.

Images courtesy of Public domain and Bruce Parker/TNR

9 thoughts on “Opinion: Independence, not welfare, should be for everyone

  1. Medicare should probably also be ended.The older people getting free health care from it didn’t contribute nearly enough to cover their expenses.

  2. Those administrators controlling welfare expenditures will be very careful that there is no lasting effect from their efforts. After all, if the problem is truly resolved they might lose their jobs (if a Governor with common sense ever gets elected)..

  3. Well stated Mary. It’s refreshing to read an article loaded with wisdom and down right common sense. Sadly, the Dems will not understand or will be puzzeled by your essay. BRAVO for speaking up!!!

  4. I think that the low hanging fruit should be addressed first.Right now Trump is giving Billions to multi millionaire farmers because China isn’t buying.Why are taxpayers supporting millionaires?
    Ethanol is another welfare boondoggle.Using corn as fuel is about the worst idea to come down the pike.

    • The Federal Crop Insurance Reform Act of 1994, enacted under the Clinton administration, requiring farmers to participate, is just as egregious as the Market Facilitation Program (tariff subsidies). And Ethanol subsidies have been with us for more than 30 years.

      This doesn’t justify these corporate welfare programs. But to single out Trump for offsetting the U.S./China trade dispute is misleading, especially when the final results of his trade negotiations are still pending.

      This article is in reference to social welfare. Back in 2013 Vermont ranked eighth in pretax wage equivalent of the welfare benefit package, at $42,350. This number, representing what the household would have to earn to pay for the benefits after taxes, has increased by $10,770 since 1995, by far the largest increase of any state. https://vtdigger.org/2013/08/19/mcclaughry-vermonts-welfare-cornucopia/

      We aren’t going to get anyone to work if they don’t have to.

      • It’s the health insurance coverage.Medicare for all would end Medicaid and employers saddled with high contributions for employees.With farming being among the most hazardous trades there is,you would think that mandated coverage should be a must for employees.Farming is far more hazardous than police and fire duties and you see how they are compensated.Why so much more than hard working farm help?

  5. Socialist Democrats with all the free programs they promote, they don’t want you to have any
    Independence……. It’s all about control !!

    Enablers, just listen to Socialist Sanders rhetoric………disgusting display but people believe him.

  6. Self sufficient independent hard working Vermonter’s are a rarity Mary… since the slide to decline of the 70’s influx of flatlander state changers…as the government has grown to large and to left there’s no more independence only government mandate/regulation in all aspect of your life.Ethan and Ira are rolling in the grave at what VT’s become…after the sacrifices they made for VT freedom it’s now gone..

  7. Well said Mary. I believe in everything you stated and it makes a lot of sense. If you’re ideas were accepted and followed it would greatly improve not only the welfare system but our medical dependency and cost.
    I believe however that it goes against the liberal agenda that prefers you being dependent on the government. Then they can control you.

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