March 3rd 2017 – Civilians News –
– Why Education and Welfare Reform Are The MOST Important Issues Of Our Time –
In 1929, America’s economy collapsed. During this time, President Hoover worsened that economy through a strict policy of federal government inaction. This historical footnote is often forgotten in America today…..
Today, President Hoover is best known for the concept of “Hoover-villes,” which decorated his tenure from 1929-1933.
It was only after Hoover, with his poignant stance on lesser government and non intervention, that “New Deal” legislation began repairing the economy. In this way, federal 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, 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……
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.
Before WWII, welfare reform was experienced in America, in many ways for the first time. During this time period, when many Americans surely didn’t know how to feel about suicide rates or welfare, coupled with increased government intervention, the issue of welfare reform became one of the most controversial subjects in American politics.
I mention these things, because people today often forget how far this country has come, in terms of subsidized farming and government interference.
For this reason, I find education and welfare reform, to be the most important issues in America today. I feel this way for a variety of reasons but mostly because of last century’s mistakes.
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.
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……
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 of past decades, are no longer applicable today.
For many decades America has examined this free market dilemma, while pointing to a “Darwinist” approach to free market economics. Throughout American history, this free market approach has largely been predicated upon the basic concept of winners and losers…..
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 %|
Currently in America, over 41 MILLION Americans require government food assistance.
To put that number in perspective; that means 1 out of every 8 Americans requires food stamp support from their federal government today.
By comparison, in 2000, 17.1 million Americans required food stamp support. During that time, the US population was roughly 282 million. This means in 2000, roughly 1/16 Americans relied on government food assistance, as opposed to 1/8 today….. but 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, or roughly 1 in 12 Americans.
In 1980, the US population was around 226.5 million Americans… By comparison, 21 million Americans were on food stamps 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. Whereas in 1969, you have only 2 million Americans on government food support, with very little national debt.
Comparatively, that means only 1 in 100 Americans, were on government food support, in 1969. During that time, the US population hovered around 200 million Americans… Meaning due to war spending, increases in the national debt, the birth of excess deficit spending, etc etc….. that the food assistance program grew tremendously, from 1969 to 1980.
These statistics are vastly alarming. In many ways these numbers represent modern day government reliance, as well as hypocrisy in terms of free market fundamentalism….. Yet, despite these truths the next generation will be inheriting this deficit. Furthermore, this next century may also force young Americans to one day experience their own, “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 natural life is a human condition which could easily be viewed as an un-alienable right of citizenship today….. This is my belief….. However, not everyone in America see’s it this way. Yet, 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…..
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, but that is not today. I will cover this issue in the future, but largely due to the ramifications of plastic’s technologies and the need for environmental protectionism, which could be put at risk during mass rural sprawl, I believe home farming and rural sprawl is NOT CURRENTLY America’s best solution. (Yet.)
In countries like; China, Japan and even the UK, increased population density has already required social change. This change, in terms of economic innovation, must take place in order to offset rises in population growth, in order to sustain floundering job markets.
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 Chinese, or Japanese system of socialism….. It is important to remember that many Americans on welfare today, are honest, deserving Americans, who only desire the utmost basic human necessities….. IE Food and housing….
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. In a twist of irony, many of these recipients of government aid, are in many ways responsible for this hypocrisy today. Even crazier, on average each retiree receives approximately 1,180 dollars, in cash, per month….. Meaning that a large majority of that money, is going towards health and prescription drug coverage for senior citizens…. which actually kind of explains the problem today.
To be clear….. (just to specify) it is these same Americans, who are currently receiving this annual, 768.63 billion dollars in government assistance EVERY YEAR, who are simultaneously and continually pushing for free market reforms. It is these same Americans, who once claimed to have won, “the cold war against socialism,” who inherited very little national debt at all, who simultaneously are cashing in on almost a trillion dollars worth of government spending, every year, at this very moment…..
In comparison, roughly 70 billion, or 1/10th the social security disbursed to retirees, is annually spent on food assistance 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….
Or should we let the baby boomers who retired on social security, all starve to death under the guise of free market economics…..?
The real issue then becomes education, which because of 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, instead of placing blame for the modern economy and the lies surrounding it….. today I wish to simply point out the problem, in order to craft solutions for the leaders of tomorrow…….
Because in many ways, ignoring these issues and glossing over these facts, is the main throttle that has 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 of 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, but I am saying we could build them barracks….
I’m not saying expand food stamps for everybody, but I am saying make the barest of human necessity, accessible to even the lowliest Americans…..
Furthermore, instead of dispersing enormous sums of social security benefits, why not create food and housing vouchers for American retirees? As opposed to simply handing them social security money……
Modern reforms might also include, considering a renewed focus on liberal arts, as jobs themselves…. in the wake of Ai and automation technology.
Instead of enhancing military defense budgets, to band aid waning job growth, as America has done in the past….. This century, why not make liberal arts a larger niche of the free market, to band aid declining job growth?
In this way, perhaps the concept of currency itself might even be re-examined. Regardless, the effects of these transitions would surely be beneficial as a whole.
In consequence to these adaptations, I believe economic and social reforms might also lead to future enhancements in public education as well. I also believe that a new found empathy for the poor, as well as increased honesty from the federal government, would serve as a catalyst for patriotism, both domestically and abroad.
PS: Or the billionaire class could just invest in more small business’……