Letter to the Editor: Why pick and choose when it comes to welfare?


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

One of the many things I appreciate about the Rocky Mount Telegram is the freedom of speech it honors and the vehicle by which everyone may express their concerns. Those concerns do not have to be grounded in the Real Truth, they just have to be someone’s opinion.

The Bible tells us that we will have the poor with us always; Jesus said that! The book of Psalms reminds us of six advantages on a personal level for taking care of the poor; one of which is that you will not lay on a sick bed and suffer unduly.

Now this was probably penned before we began to pollute the groundwater with arsenic, lead, and sulfate, the food supply with hormones that may alter the body’s DNA natural function, or change the natural order of food by producing GMO brands of things that were just perfect in their natural form before science decided to try something different like white peaches and yellow watermelon.

But some things will not change, and it troubles me when people act as if the majority of the world’s population completed a multiple choice test before birth and elected to be born into poverty or lack and live in climates where it rarely rains and most sewage systems are a ditch in the ground.

We Americans who have abundance and a system of laws that allow elected officials and commissions to dictate what taxpayers will pay for rarely, if ever, balk about the high price of “Corporate Welfare.” Corporate welfare is known as an incentive packages. In 2017 NC was willing to pay a company $500 million to locate here to build a huge plant but that was not enough so the company decided to build elsewhere. Who do we think would pay for that welfare check? When CSX was coming to Edgecombe County, and we were excited about the increase in revenue for our area for people seeking employment, the welfare check for their location was $122.1 million. Who do we think would have been taxed to pay for that? When the event center, which is being built downtown next to the railroad tracks was in the planning stage, the incentive package for that venue will be passed on to every taxpayer living in the city of Rocky Mount? So, one man’s incentive check is another person’s Medicaid supplement, Affordable Care Act health insurance subsidy, or another family’s food stamps.

We will not hear these people be critical about the cost of sustaining lives be it food, medicine, a supplemental check or the abundance of nursing homes and assisted living facilities built to accommodate those who are old, sick, young, without parents or just don’t have anyone to take care of them.

All across our nation we can see governmental support of famers, animals, research, space, air, water, noise, clean-up operations caused by very rich companies when they have billions of dollars to clean up their own dumped, toxic trash, but we yell about the poor getting food, shelter and insurance. We forget that hospitals thrive on governmental funding. We forget that private medical practices rely upon reimbursement for medical treatment from the government.

Can we at least be honest and admit that not everyone in lack is someone who is too lazy to work? To think that means that we forgot about the economic crisis of 2008 in America. Can we at least acknowledge that children born with mental disabilities and physical disabilities who grow into adulthood deserve the same level of treatment and care we, the government, provides for cattle and grazing rights funded by the government? Can we at least agree that regardless of the circumstances, We, the People, should have a heart as affirming toward people as we do toward corporations?

I was once told that Exxon Mobile whose profits topple over into the trillion of dollars have so many “Corporate Welfare” loopholes that they pay fewer taxes than Mr. Jones who drives a school bus comparatively. Why can’t we admit that we can’t code welfare or government support by one name and castigate it by another when it comes to people who really need it the most?

Finally, can we at least agree that while the government provides supplemental funding to projects, universities, think tanks, all forms of armed forces, hospital research centers, and yes, food stamps and subsidized housing, that the greatest beneficiary from governmental support are those who are rich enough to provide the goods and services for the people.

Medicaid supports my son’s ability to live in a UNC TEACCH supported center, but I have paid taxes all my life and his Social Security check from his father’s death supplements what Nash County DSS pays so that he, born with Autism of no choice his own or his parents, can live in a decent UCFMR place that is partially sustained by government assistance. If my tax dollars support those who are wealthy from a corporate sense, why not be more supportive of those who are not.

I was not born wealthy, but I am grateful to be a contributor to those who are not. I guess that is why Jesus felt the need to remind us of our obligation to the poor, widows, children as well as government. There is not one scripture in the Bible that reminds me that I am to sustain those who are wealthy; actually it is just the opposite. Let us not keep sending messages that everybody who is poor just is so happy to be that way and don’t have a vision for anything else. Take a ride throughout our region and appreciate all the people who are poor but with pride and dignity don’t want government assistance; it will not be corporate America I can bet you that one thing.


Retired educator, Rocky Mount