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  1. Good stuff, small disagree: Welfare Reform improved the situation more then just marginally: in fact it was very a drastic improvement. It did slow down later on, because the culture rot only allowed it to work to a certain extent as you correctly note, and also because the Fed and the various state governments watered it down significantly over the years.

    Comment by zf — February 22, 2013 @ 1:30 pm

  2. You state that government policies are the cause for the disintegration of the family. May I ask, what ever happened to moral choice?
    As far as I know, no federal or state law requires citizens to accept welfare. In most instances, when people wind up on welfare it is because of bad choices they have made regarding how to conduct their lives. No one is required by law to have children out of wedlock; no one is required to take drugs or become an alcoholic; no one is required to conduct his or her affairs in an irresponsible fashion. No one is required to be a deadbeat and non-productive citizen in a country with the greatest amount of opportunity and material wealth on earth.
    No children are required to neglect their elderly parents. No parents are required to impart destructive or negative values to their children. No one is required to have children if they feel they are not up to the job of raising those children properly.
    No one is required to remain a minimum wage worker for life. No one is required not to benefit from charity, including medical charity, when such charity is needed. No one is required not to offer a needy fellow citizen a helping hand.
    No one is required to purchase a house that he does not have the means to maintain. No one is required to spend money on optional consumer goods or pastimes as opposed to saving that money to care for the daily and future needs, both medical and otherwise, of his own family including his parents.
    Just because the government may encourage bad behavior does not mean one has to behave badly. Just because tax laws may make getting married more expensive than remaining unwed does not absolve a couple from doing the right thing and getting married. Just because the government allows people to lie, cheat and steal from their fellow citizens via corrupt tax and regulatory codes and laws does not mean that you must lie, cheat and steal.
    As has often been observed, government is a necessary evil. When you have a moral people, both the “necessary” and the “evil” will be minimized, both at the individual and institutional levels. Evil government tempts the citizenry, including its leaders, only when that citizenry has lost its moral compass and sense of responsibility.
    History is replete with examples of governments encouraging its citizenry to perform acts destructive both to the self and others. But no man is required to follow an unjust law; he may have to die for his disobedience, but if he chooses to obey, it is because he has decided that living an unjust life is preferable to dying.
    How much easier then it should be for us in contemporary America to ignore or disobey unjust or destructive laws, when the worst consequences of such action sre less material comfort or, far more rarely, incarceration, as opposed to risking of one’s life!
    God has granted us the unique ability to exercise choice in our actions and thoughts without external restraint. It is our task to make our choices worthy of His gift. Those choices are up to the man or woman making them, not up to the laws under which the moral man or woman lives.

    Comment by bill meisler — February 22, 2013 @ 4:39 pm

  3. You raise good points. The problem is that when govt. designs the wrong incentives, some people will take them. To an extent, some of the people who don’t take them feel like chumps. Keep it going for a few generations, as we have, and the whole thing starts to break down, with govt. moves having precipitated the decline.

    You could take the argument pretty far. For example, you could make the case that (but I don’t) that everyone who takes Social Security in full knowledge of the fact that they are really taking the younger generation’s money is acting immorally.

    Comment by Tom — February 22, 2013 @ 4:45 pm

  4. May I ask, what ever happened to moral choice?

    Moral choice is for those who are moral. You assume these people actually understand your point of view.

    Comment by dscott — February 23, 2013 @ 2:12 pm

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