Monday, May 2, 2016

A New P.R.I.M.E. Directive: Strengthening Families Financially Through Marriage Rather than Subsidy Dependency

America's Election Season has focused much attention on the number 1,237.  The vibrant and competitive Grand Ole Party (GOP) Republican Presidential Election has all eyes on the numbers to propel either Billionaire Donald J. Trump or Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) to the Convention Nomination in Cleveland.  If you listen to the "Trumpinistas", Cruz should exit stage left from Indiana and head home to the US Senate.  The "Cruzites" assure us that it is impossible for Trump to win the majority of remaining primaries and that they will win the Second Convention Vote.  On the Mathematically Exclusive Delegate argument, Robert Eno makes it very clear.  They are all excluded of wining the GOP Nomination on the First Ballot.  Eno writes."The analysis above showing that Cruz would most likely win on a third ballot, at the latest, is why Indiana has become so pivotal to his chances at the nomination.  If Cruz does not stop Trump in Indiana, the likelihood is that Trump will attain 1,237 delegates before the convention, making this analysis an exercise in futility."  With the Gurus of Statistical Analysis, modern cable television commentators, jockeying for prognosticator honors, there are other numbers that those seeking to institute a New Urban P.R.I.M.E. Directive should concern themselves.   

For the District of Columbia, the numbers are 16,000 and 6,000.  Prior to the November 2016 DC General Election, the City will implement, if they don't delay another year for essential political public relations, a five (5) year ban on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) which provides cash assistance to needy families with dependent children when available resources do not fully address the family's needs and while preparing program participants for independence through work.  Adults with dependent children receiving TANF must meet financial and technical eligibility requirements.  Conditions of eligibility include cooperation with child support, participation in work activities and compliance with substance abuse provisions. Earned and unearned income cannot exceed the benefit level paid for the assistance unit size and assets are limited to $2,000.00.  Sanctions may be imposed for program noncompliance.

What dastardly Republican legislators would introduce such a prudent conservative idea on one of the Nation's most Progressive Cities?  They are Marion Barry (D-Ward 8), posthumously, and Yvette M. Alexander (D-Ward 7).  Yes, two of the City's most liberal politicians thought it wise to end dependency on government after over 100 years of legislative intervention.  "We have to break the cycle," Barry said. "Part of the purpose of the bill is to start a dialogue about how ineffective our current system is."  In 2010, when the ban became law, over 40% of the 17,000 persons receiving subsidy had done so for more than 5 years.  The cost was $35 million annually with an average payout of $370 per month.  So how do we define progress with a conservative concept?  In 2016, the City delayed implementation of the ban for a year, spent $42 million on "employment" and "behavioral health services" for at-risk families and increased average payout to $444 per month.  What remained?  There are 17,000 persons receiving subsidies.  We ask what was the purpose for a ban begun at the federal level by America's First Black President, William Jefferson Clinton (D), in 1996. and, finally, instituted by the Human Rights laden City Council in 2010?  Alexander put it this way, "For far too long, we have cradled a large part of the population, and our cradling has actually handicapped people.  Many of our residents view government assistance as a way of life, and in my opinion, we are actually hurting our residents instead of helping them."  So how will the City help those made most at-risk by government intervention?  Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) has proposed a FY 2017 budget that funds Families that have received assistance for 60 months or more will continue to receive just $154 a month for a family of three.  Under the 2017 budget, all families would lose income and employment assistance in October 2017, regardless of their circumstances.  

In testimony before the City Council, Nina Smith, a single mother affiliated with the Southeast Ministry, a nonprofit job-training and study program, advised that her return to the TANF program was forced by her lack of access to child care which led to her resigning from her job.  She advised, "I'm back on, not because I want to be but to support my household.  I am asking you not to pass this because if you do, a lot of us will be cold, homeless and hungry and our kids will suffer because we won't have the money to support them."  This is the mark of indictment on a noble intention that has supplanted the scope of marriage and resolve of family.  The dependence on subsidy so great that the only option seemingly available is the visible hand of government, both federal and local.  As the Nation's Capital moves steadfastly towards the October 1 deadline, it is urgent that Faith, families and neighbors assemble to discuss how the bane of poverty can best be defeated  without obscuring the individuals' needs to make decisions that will prosper their households.  We must be willing to accept the limitations of government and the unlimited potential of the individual.  In the confines of marriage, not government programs, we are assured a more prosperous society.  Generational Welfare limits the individual's assent to either a "Pathway to the Middle Class"--as some are content to restrain--or to the Founding Father's Assurances of Life, liberty and the Pursuits of Happiness.  We should never feel comfortable that any American is so chained to the State that they can not imagine life or liberty without its financial allowances.

Class warfare agents have long understood the prolific political power as a return of investment for demonizing one side of the aisle and uplifting the other in the $22 Trillion Dollar "War on Poverty".  Political Machines in early Urban America were organized to provide social services and jobs in exchange for votes.  Such unhealthy collusion maintained political dominance, especially among the Progressives.  It fit well with the liberal philosophy of creating a welfare state.  The flaws to such noble intentions: time and money.  The benefit: one can say that they care for people in exchange for their continued political allegiance and economic submission.  As early 20th century private organizations surrendered the support of the poor and needy to well accessed non-profit organizations and political operatives, their came greater demand of local governments to raise taxes to cover this interest.  Eventually, local and state systems of public relief were simply unprepared to cope with the volume of requests for help from individuals and families without jobs.  Hence, it was time to move to the next level: federal intervention.

The Democrats refer to the Father of the Third Bill of Rights, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (D), as the sovereign grantor of the civil rights of security.  However, before Roosevelt, President Herbert Hoover (R) signed the Emergency Relief and Construction Act (ERCA) on July 27, 1932.  Intended as a temporary assistance to business and labor, Hoover provided one of the first federal interventions of relief of the poor and the needy.  How did Hoover pay for it?  He raised taxes!  The impact?  Hoover's federal revenue decreased and added anxiety to the economy.  Yes, he decided that in order to save capitalism he would have to try socialism.  Where have I heard that before?  He opened the door as well to FDR's New Deal policies.  Immediately after assuming office in 1933, FDR proposed and then signed the Federal Emergency Relief Act (FERA), which, in its first year enabled the national government to distribute more than $1 billion to the states to shore up their existing public relief programs.  Thank You, Mr. Hoover!

We should not be so critical of Hoover as he attempted in every way possible not to involve federal intervention.  According to the The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Hoover sought to maintain a Republican form of governance in spite of calls to submit to socialism: 

"As the Depression became worse, however, calls grew for increased federal intervention and spending. But Hoover refused to involve the federal government in forcing fixed prices, controlling businesses, or manipulating the value of the currency, all of which he felt were steps towards socialism.  He was inclined to give indirect aid to banks or local public works projects, but he refused to use federal money for direct aid to citizens, believing the dole would weaken public morale." 

What was the reward for his audacious offense against the arguments of Keynesian politicians and New Deal promises?  He lost the Presidential election against FDR.  

It was the Progressives' intent to express the Keynesian notion that America would always have the financial resolve to provide for the welfare of its citizens.  This provision even at the dissolution of the family code of ethics and the move of traditional marriage "from an institution to a companionship".  However, as fiscal budgets tighten, the absolute truth is what von Mises would advise.  You eventually run out of other people's money.  At once, you must decide if it is reasonable to persist in maligning the dependent few in order to stoically proclaim a Pyrrhic ideological victory.  

Marriage is our New Urban P.R.I.M.E. Directive.  If DC would be so bold as to declare financial independence from Congress then, it should be even bolder to encourage those affixed on the promises of the Democrat and Republican progressive machines to declare financial independence.  However, as these families and households lose the financial inducements and regulatory control of the state and federal governments, the Faith communities should take the helm in creating neighborhood councils that encourage marriage and family life.  Dr. Linda Malone-Colon, Executive Director of The National Center on African-American Marriages and Parenting at Hampton University, and other men and women of reason would advise that marriage is the greatest means of reducing poverty.  Dr. Malone-Colon, in National Summit on Marriage, Parenting and Families advises, "There are many parents today who grew up in fatherless households because of the requirements that made it unlawful for recipients to have a man in the house. The lack of fatherhood is associated with negative outcomes many of which perpetuate the absent father problem."  The Heritage Foundation reports, "Over a third of single-parent families with children are poor, compared to only seven percent of married families. Overall, children in married families are 82 percent less likely to be poor than are children of single parents. The strong impact of marriage in reducing poverty still appears when married and non-married families of the same race and education level are compared."  Time and money are running out on these at-risk families.  The Government has exhausted our wealth and its patience in meeting the needs of the poor and needy.  Faith leaders and families have a unique responsibility to taxpayers and society in general to create the environment in which families can be restored to the institution that would best preserve their wealth and well-being.   Marriage should be on the agenda of every cultural institution in DC by October 1, 2016.  Preach it!  Our financial independence depends on it.

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