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We Do Need a Social Safety Net

Libertarians, heavily influenced by Ayn Rand, don’t favor a social safety net.

But Americans overwhelmingly want and support a social safety net because we don’t want to see people starving on the street. We don’t want to see grandma thrown out into the snow.

Social safety netMost Americans believe that we are a wealthy enough country to be able to provide an acceptable standard of living for those who cannot provide for themselves. Most people want to know that if they ever become too sick or disabled to be able to provide for themselves that they will still be able to eat, have a roof over their heads, have medical care.

There is much wrong with the current welfare state in America.

The incentives are all wrong, rewarding dependency.

There are more than 150 separate “means tested” federal welfare programs.  How an uneducated poor person can even navigate this maze is anyone’s guess.

President Obama’s policy focus has been to increase the public’s dependency on government. He has expanded the number of Americans on Food Stamps by 50 percent. He has done this by heavily advertising and marketing the Food Stamps program in poor communities and even to college students.

He has created an entire new entitlement called ObamaCare. Today, more than 110,000,000 Americans are recieiving some form of “means tested” government assistance — more than one-third of the entire country.

That’s because Obama and the Democrats use welfare and public assistance to buy votes. Welfare and public assistance has become a giant vote buying operation. The more poverty and the more people dependent on welfare, the better politically it is for Obama and the Democrats.

The more people who have private-sector jobs and own businesses, the better it is for the Republicans.

So what we have in America is a battle between the party of government dependency and the party of self-reliance, and liberty.

But just because we, as conservative Constitutionalists, believe in self-reliance and liberty doesn’t mean we don’t believe in a social “safety net.”

And just because we find serious structural problems with the current welfare state, also doesn’t mean we oppose a social safety net.

I favor a social safety net — a limited social safety net — not the current “vote buying” version we have now.

The type of social safety net we should have is one that encourages able-bodied Americans to get off it.

Bill Clinton signed welfare reform into law that required able-bodied Americans on welfare to work.

Millions of Americans left the welfare roles for jobs as a result.

President Obama canceled the work requirement for those on welfare. The result: a 50 percent increase in the number of people on Food Stamps, and one third of the country on some form of “means tested’ welfare.

The difference between Bill Clinton and Barack Obama is that Bill Clinton saw it as an important public policy goal to wean people off welfare, while Obama’s primary goal has been to put more people on welfare, to addict as many Americans as possible to government assistance.

Writer Ben Hart says he's a "William F. Buckely, Jr. conservative," not a libertarian because, while the Constitution has a presumption in favor of liberty, it is not a libertarian document and the libertarian credo is not a practical charter for government. Please tell us what you think by posting your comments or submitting your rebuttal to CHQeditor at

To read Part I of “Why I’m a Conservative, Not a Libertarian” go to

Tomorrow, Part III: “What a Conservative Social Safety Net Might Look Like”

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