The feel-good policies of many liberals are so fraught with unintended consequences that the very help that people believe they are providing to those less fortunate are, in fact, ensuring that those disadvantaged people are denied the very opportunities afforded to all other Americans.
The liberal programs that create the most dependency for people in need provide subsidies rather than help develop capabilities.
Rather than teaching someone to be self-sufficient, the following liberal policies have ensured dependency. With dependency comes a loss of control and a loss of hope for those most in need.
Some of the many policies that have unintended consequences and cruel results include:
1. A primary and secondary school system in which substandard teachers are protected at the expense of the students they teach.
2. Easy access to student loans for students who have no clear direction in their life.
3. Liberal disability program access for those people who decide they would rather not work rather than being unable to work.
4. Massive government pension programs for government workers that make property tax rates unsustainable for the average family to be able to afford to live where they wish.
5. Extremely open borders and tolerance for illegal immigration.
6. Exploding food stamp programs which foster greater dependency rather than greater opportunity.
A primary and secondary school system that does not foster excellence with it students and foster greater parental involvement is doomed to produce students not qualified of being able to become independent in the future.
The very foundation of any great culture is a quality education system which recognizes individual learning differences while at the same time fostering exceptional educational results based on the abilities of the student.
Substandard teachers protected by archaic collective bargaining agreements hurt the very students that these teachers are supposed to help. Rather than helping substandard teachers achieve excellence themselves, the current system merely protects mediocrity at the expense of the student.
The dream of a college education for all Americans sounds laudable. From my experience, however, as an adjunct faculty member, I can assure you not all students should be in college.
One of the gravest dangers of making student loans so easy to obtain is that it allows students to make decisions affecting their future without clearly understanding the impact that decision will have on the rest of their lives. If a person has no idea what they want to do in life, incurring debt to stay in school until they decide is foolhardy.
When students incur massive student debts, now averaging nearly $30,000 per student, the legacy of that debt will be felt for decades for those students who have not clearly thought out why they are in college to begin with.
While Worker’s Compensation programs are beneficial for those who are injured, the system has been plagued by allegations of fraud and misuse for decades. This $200 billion a year industry has made disability almost a birthright and easy policies make abuse much more likely.
For those that are gaming the system that comes at the expense of those workers who are legitimately injured and other workers who see smaller than average pay raises because companies cannot afford to skyrocketing disability premiums.
The unfunded liabilities of so many cities, communities, and states also have profound implications on our entire nation. When these pensions were originally granted such pension plans were relatively common in large corporate America.
The difference is that the unfunded obligations in corporate America were often met by corporate bankruptcies. In the case of government such unfunded obligations are met with massive tax increases leading citizens, most now without pensions, almost no hope of ever retiring.
The city of Detroit is but one example of a looming national pension disaster. While a corporation cannot force their customers to pay for its poorly thought out decisions, government however has the ability to pass laws to legislate irresponsible behavior and thereby harming its own citizens in the process.
Porous or open borders only foster an influx of people who will have limited ability to exercise the benefits of the American dream. Such policies relegate illegal immigrants to low paying and, in many cases, dead end jobs with limited future for them or their families.
As one final example of the cruelty of liberalism, food stamp programs that are exploding in cost and availability mask the problem that our government spending is out of control. Massive government regulations and costs make it difficult for employers to provide higher pay. Higher costs for apartments, food, clothing, and medical insurance make more and more Americans dependent upon the food stamp program.
If this country and if liberals are serious about helping Americans and those less fortunate, policies need to be enacted which encourage people to develop their own capabilities and to become self-sufficient.
You may feel better by giving someone else a handout, and sometimes charitable giving is needed, but your feeling good is not the objective. The objective is to help
all our citizens to achieve the American dream and to provide a stable society where growth and prosperity are ensured and open to all.
Col. Frank Ryan, CPA, USMCR (Ret) and served in Iraq and briefly in Afghanistan and specializes in corporate restructuring and lectures on ethics for the state CPA societies. He has served on numerous boards of publicly traded and non-profit organizations. He can be reached at [email protected] and twitter at @fryan1951.