March 3rd 2017 – Civilians News
– Why Education and Welfare Reform Are The MOST Important Issues Of Our Time –
In 1929, the economy collapsed.
President Hoover then worsened that economy through a strict policy of government inaction.
It was only after Hoover, with his poignant stance on lesser government and non intervention, that “New Deal legislation” began fixing poverty. In this way, modern day government spending is largely due to the Great Depression era.
Whereas once upon a time, America strictly relied upon economic individualism, the Great Depression forced the federal government to largely expand towards an economic crutch, in many ways still enabling the private sector today.
This is important to note for a variety of reasons. Many Americans today, old and young, have forgotten the roots of our society. While history often points to the Great Depression, in terms of economic uncertainty, after the 1920’s the issue of federal government expansion largely dominated American culture. Even today the size of the federal government and government intervention still hold as one of the most controversial and core beliefs of American citizens.
Throughout the 1930’s and 1940’s, the US government continued to “wean” the economy into its modern state. It was during this time, that a plane was crashed into the Empire State building’s, “Christian Welfare Offices,” in 1945. This incident occurred after a rash of suicides swept through NYC. Albeit, a lesser known fact of historical significance today……
Suicide Statistics and the Economy
In fact, for many years suicide rates have been DIRECTLY tied to the economy as a whole. In this way, I believe the issue of suicide rates themselves; have largely come to reflect the “fairness” of the American economy….
In 2014, 13 out of every 100,000 Americans killed themselves. In 1999, 10 out of every 100,000 Americans also committed the act of suicide.
During this time, in conjunction with welfare statistics, participation in food stamp programs grew at nearly the exact same rate.
In a prior article, (*http://civiliansnews.com/civilians-news/the-future-of-american-education/) I discussed several issues regarding education reform, which I’ve cataloged in several pieces on Civilians News. However, today I want to focus on the topic of 21st century welfare reform……
To put it bluntly, recent decades have seen many jobs “displaced” by technology, through technological advances and growing population densities.
Population Expansion And Deficit Spending
For these reasons, along with social and cultural evolution, in many ways there is an expanding population of 325 million+ Americans and there are NOT 325 million jobs in America today…… For this reason, education and welfare reform is of the utmost importance.
In contrast, during the 1950’s there were approximately 125 million Americans, nearly half the modern population….. During this time, with a relatively manageable population, the federal government could spend and maintain an intrinsically free market society, through militarization and expansions in legal systems. In this way, modern industrial complexes were created and still exist today. These complexes include but are not limited to; fast food, infrastructure, insurance and several other industries. For many decades this form of government intervention created jobs and stabilized American markets. However, many of these solutions are no longer applicable, due to a growing population and market saturation.
For many decades America has examined this free market dilemma, with a “Darwinist” approach to free market economics. However with a larger and larger population, this approach is growing more and more inhumane…..
Clearly illustrating this problem, are the issues of; food stamps, social security and suicide rates today…..
Below is the current federal government spending, “Food Stamp (SNAP)” statistics, from recent years.
|Food Stamp (SNAP) Statistics||Data|
|Total annual cost of food stamp program||$69,800,000,000|
|Number of Americans using the food stamp (SNAP) program||41,170,732|
|Number of American households receiving food stamps||22,318,000|
|Percent of population on food stamp program||14 %|
Food Stamp Statistics
Currently, this month over 41 million Americans require government food assistance.
To put that number in perspective; that means 1 out of every 8 Americans require government food stamp support.
By comparison, in 2000, 17.1 million Americans required food stamp support.
During that time the US population was roughly 282 million. That means, in 2000 roughly 1 in 16 Americans relied on government food assistance, as opposed to 1 in 8 today….. And that’s just food stamps….
As I mentioned above, from 2000 to 2014, suicide rates grew roughly 30%, in 14 years…. This growth rate is similar to the growth of food stamp participation, which climbed roughly 50% over that same period of time.
In 1990, the US population was around 240 million Americans…. By comparison, 20 million Americans were on food stamps at that time. This correlates to a ratio of roughly 1 in 12 Americans on food stamp support.
In 1980, the US population was around 226.5 million Americans… By comparison, 21 million Americans were on food stamp support at that time, or roughly 1 in 10.5.
Where you begin to see a sharp drop-off in the numbers, is around Vietnam, a well known proxy war over socialism in the 1960’s. At that time only 2 million Americans were on government food stamp support, with a population of around 200 million.
Comparatively, that means only 1 in 100 Americans were on government food stamp support in 1969.
These statistics are vastly alarming.
In many ways these numbers represent; modern day government reliance, top heavy corporate pay structures and hypocrisy in terms of free market fundamentalism….. Yet, despite these truths the next generation will inherit this deficit. Furthermore, the next century may also force young Americans to one day experience “a cautionary tale of deficit spending,” if this issue is not resolved.
This gap in American education, between the reality of America’s free market and the reality of modern welfare statistics, in many ways illustrates the problem itself.
So how should America handle this dilemma? In my opinion it really starts with education…….
I believe it’s utterly inhumane to say Americans don’t deserve food, or in essence the tools to create it for themselves…..
Living a healthy life is a human condition. Food itself could easily be viewed as an un-alienable human right, no different than citizenship….. This is my belief….. However, not everyone in America views it this way. Even though without food, the human body has no energy to contribute to society at all……
So this circumstance really comes down to education, in my opinion….. The fact of the matter is that times are changing and in many ways, due to Ai technology and automation, America must change accordingly…..
Free Market Adaptations
This is not to say America should abandon the principles of the free market, but only that America should proceed through the 21st century with caution.
One day, in the not so distant future, home farming, global Wifi and solar power, will allow for a natural rural sprawl and likely self farming, relieving the need for food stamp support. However, that future is not today. I will cover this issue later on, but largely due to the ramifications of plastic technologies and the need for environmental protectionism, I believe home farming and rural sprawl is NOT CURRENTLY America’s best solution. (At this moment in time.)
America will always be a culture of exceptionalism and independence; however it is simply the REALITY that times will continue to change.
While not going as far as advocating a foreign system of capitalistic socialism….. It is important to remember that many Americans on welfare today, are no different than you or I.
Social Security Vs Food Stamps
In conjunction with food stamps; in 2016, 61 million Americans received 768.63 billion dollars worth of social security benefits… (https://www.ssa.gov/oact/STATS/table4a5.html)…..
From that social security budget, 616 billion dollars went to retired baby boomers last year. A demographic best known for preaching free market fundamentalism. Even more astounding, is that a large majority of that money is going towards health and prescription drug coverage for senior citizens…. This is why education is a major problem, in conjunction with welfare reforms…..
To be clear….. it is these same Americans, who are currently receiving an annual 768.63 billion dollars in government assistance, who once claimed to have won, “the cold war against socialism.” It is these same Americans, who simultaneously are receiving almost a trillion dollars worth of government spending, every year, at this very moment, whose demographic is best known for pushing “free market reforms” and opposing food stamp support…..
In comparison, roughly 70 billion, or 1/10th of the social security disbursed to retirees, is annually spent on government food stamp programs…..
For this reason, I believe food and housing benefits should be viewed as, “unalienable human rights,” no different than citizenship….. However, this concept leads to a plethora of resulting arguments debating the fabric of America, as well as the interplay between government and the free market economy….
Which leads me to wonder….. Should retired baby boomers be revoked of social security, under the guise of free market economics?
Historical Significance And Potential Solutions
The real issue then becomes education. This is because the hypocrisy of the prior generation, in terms of “socialist” practices…. particularly in the wake of the Cold War…… must now face the HARSHEST of criticisms……
Regardless, today my intentions are simply to point out the problem, in order to craft solutions for the leaders of tomorrow…….
This is because in many ways, ignoring these issues and glossing over these facts, is the main throttle that created this dilemma in the first place.
Who’s to say housing the homeless, or making food and shelter, UNALIENABLE HUMAN RIGHTS, would demean currency? Or that acceptance of these reforms, MANY OF WHICH ARE ALREADY IN PLACE, would demean hard working Americans going to work everyday? Furthermore, if housing and food do become subsidized government needs, how can we as Americans justify the laziness of the few, who choose not to participate in the economy moving forward? (Read also, last month’s article on the future of Ai, in the economy.)
This conundrum raises a handful of sub issues, which must be confronted head on, in order to propel national growth and development.
It is my belief, that contrary to popular opinion in the US today, housing and welfare reform could (and should) take place in America. I also believe that this could be done while preserving social and economic mobility, through land and material wealth.
Similar to voluntary education…. it is important to note, that MOST AMERICANS would likely choose to work and hold jobs (even the worst of jobs) under a fairer system.
Not to wean the population onto government aid, it is of my opinion that barrack style housing, or group housing, is of the utmost importance in America today.
Many opponents of making food and housing UNALIENABLE HUMAN RIGHTS, point to these reforms as deterrents for drunkards and paupers. Regardless, I believe even the worst jobs in America today, would continue to be done under these reforms. I also believe this could be done while maintaining social mobility, as well as economic efficiency…..
Again this creates a plethora of sub topics and disputes, particularly in terms of; immigration, subsidized land and social mobility.
I’m not saying give the homeless all homes. However, I am saying we could build them barracks….
I’m not saying expand food stamps for everybody. However, I am saying make the barest of human necessity accessible, so everyone has an opportunity to build a better life…..
Furthermore, instead of dispersing enormous amounts of social security money, why not create food and housing vouchers for American retirees? These types of modern reforms might also include a renewed focus on liberal arts as jobs themselves….
Perhaps due to these adaptations the concept of currency itself, might even be re-examined over time. Regardless, the effects of these transitions would surely be beneficial as a whole, especially in terms of human capital. It is of my belief that a new found sense of American empathy for the poor, through these types of adaptations, might also create a renewed sense of economic pride, both domestically and abroad.
PS: Or the billionaire class could just invest in more small business’……