A principle that is consistently trustworthy is that if the State takes upon itself some particular responsibility many people will not take it upon themselves to be concerned about their responsibility to provide for themselves whatever it is the government is providing for and further will come to the point that they can no longer imagine people being able to function without the State being responsible for whatever responsibility they have seized from the citizenry.
So, for example, if the State promises to provide a retirement pension (i.e. — Social Security) there will be people who are no longer concerned about their responsibility to save for their own retirement, and there will be many people who begin to believe that without Social Security retirees will starve to death. People, then who are against Socialist programs like Social Security are then believed, quite wrongly, to be for retirees starving to death.
This is a theme that has been played up quite recently, as applied to Medicare. Any thought of initiating a program to privatize Medicare to some degree was linked to the conviction that people would be thrown off cliffs if the Government was not completely responsible to provide for elderly health insurance.
The premise is that if anybody wants to do anything to put an end to entitlement programs that clearly are not working that person is for letting or even helping people die. The idea hawked by Socialists and by those who support socialist programs is that people who are against Socialistic programs and wealth redistribution schemes are cruel-hearted monsters who don’t like people.
This is ironic when in point of fact it is the Socialists who are the cruel-hearted monsters. Socialists who devise these schemes are subsidizing (giving money to, and rewarding) outcomes that we should all want to see eliminated. It is the very definition of cruel-hearted to devise a program that will increase the number of people who will need that program because of the attraction of free money. When Socialists create a Social Security program they create more people dependent upon the State for their retirement since people believe that the State will provide for them in their old age. Socialists and Socialist entitlement programs, like Social Security, are the non-compassionate cruel-hearted ones because by their creation of entitlement programs they enlarge the pool of people who will become dependents upon the State.
The idea that people will starve to death without these entitlement programs is myth and such an idea is only used in order to demonize those who are opposed to creating a class of people who are dependent upon the state and to scare people into voting against those who desire to return freedom and responsibility to the electorate.
The lie that without entitlement programs people will starve to death (or be thrown off cliffs) is seen in the reality that before these entitlement programs came into existence people did not starve to death and were not thrown off cliffs. Social Security was made law in 1933. People prior to 1933 were not dropping like flies in this country from starvation prior to 1933. No, the creation of Social Security (and other like entitlement programs) is never because of the impoverished people it is putatively designed to help. The creation of Social Security (and other like entitlement programs) is done out of the desire to make people dependent upon the State, thus creating a constituency of voters who will consistently vote for people who promise to keep the entitlement subsidies flowing.
The irony is that if anyone is guilty of wanting to starve people to death it is those who create entitlement programs. I worked for my first seven years of the ministry with people who were dependent upon entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare and what I saw were people who were given just enough money to remain dependent upon the State but not enough money to actually flourish.
America existed for its first 150 years without entitlement programs. Families and Churches took upon themselves the responsibility to take care of one another without the State’s interference. If we ever return to a time when entitlement programs end we will return to a time when Families and Churches once again are strengthened to do what the State currently does.