Jewish World Review April 27, 2011/ 23 Nissan, 5771
Government Creates Poverty
By John Stossel
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The U.S. government has "helped" no group more than it has "helped" the American Indians. It stuns me when President Obama appears before Indian groups and says things like, "Few have been ignored by Washington for as long as Native Americans."
Ignored? Are you kidding me? They should be so lucky. The government has made most Indian tribes wards of the state. Government manages their land, provides their health care, and pays for housing and child care. Twenty different departments and agencies have special "native American" programs. The result? Indians have the highest poverty rate, nearly 25 percent, and the lowest life expectancy of any group in America. Sixty-six percent are born to single mothers.
Nevertheless, Indian activists want more government "help."
It is intuitive to assume that, when people struggle, government "help" is the answer. The opposite is true. American groups who are helped the most, do the worst.
Consider the Lumbees of Robeson County, N.C. — a tribe not recognized as sovereign by the government and therefore ineligible for most of the "help" given other tribes. The Lumbees do much better than those recognized tribes.
Lumbees own their homes and succeed in business. They include real estate developer Jim Thomas, who used to own the Sacramento Kings, and Jack Lowery, who helped start the Cracker Barrel Restaurants. Lumbees started the first Indian-owned bank, which now has 12 branches.
The Lumbees' wealth is not from casino money.
"We don't have any casinos. We have 12 banks," says Ben Chavis, another successful Lumbee businessman. He also points out that Robeson County looks different from most Indian reservations.
"There's mansions. They look like English manors. I can take you to one neighborhood where my people are from and show you nicer homes than the whole Sioux reservation."
Despite this success, professional "victims" activists want Congress to make the Lumbees dependent — like other tribes. U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., has introduced the Lumbee Recognition Act, which would give the Lumbees the same "help" other tribes get — about $80 million a year. Some members of the tribe support the bill.
Of course they do. People like to freeload.
Lawyer Elizabeth Homer, who used to be the U.S. Interior Department's director of Indian land trusts, say the Lumbees ought to get federal recognition.
"The Lumbees have been neglected and left out of the system, and have been petitioning for 100 years. ... They're entitled, by the way."
People like Homer will never get it. Lumbees do well because they've divorced themselves from government handouts. Washington's neglect was a godsend.
Some Lumbees don't want the handout.
"We shouldn't take it!" Chavis said. He says if federal money comes, members of his tribe "are going to become welfare cases. It's going to stifle creativity. On the reservations, they haven't trained to be capitalists. They've been trained to be communists."
Tribal governments and the Bureau of Indian Affairs manage most Indian land. Indians compete to serve on tribal councils because they can give out the government's money. Instead of seeking to become entrepreneurs, members of tribes aspire to become bureaucrats.
"You can help your girlfriend; you can help your girlfriend's mama. It's a great program!" Chavis said sarcastically.
Because a government trust controls most Indian property, individuals rarely build nice homes or businesses. "No individual on the reservation owns the land. So they can't develop it," Chavis added. "Look at my tribe. We have title and deeds to our land. That's the secret. I raise cattle. I can do what I want to because it's my private property."
I did a TV segment on the Lumbees that I included in a special called "Freeloaders." That won me the predictable vitriol. Apparently, I'm ignorant of history and a racist.
The criticism misses the point. Yes, many years ago white people stole the Indians' land and caused great misery. And yes, the government signed treaties with the tribes that make Indians "special." But that "specialness" has brought the Indians socialism. It's what keeps them dependent and poor.
On the other hand, because the U.S. government never signed a treaty with the Lumbees, they aren't so "special" in its eyes. That left them mostly free.
Freedom lets them prosper.
[And Dennis Prager continues the theme]
Jewish World Review April 27, 2011 / 23 Nissan, 5771
The Welfare State and the Selfish Society
By Dennis Prager
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In the contemporary world, where left-wing attitudes are regarded as normative, it is a given that capitalism, with its free market and profit motive, emanates from and creates selfishness, while socialism, the welfare state and the "social compact," as it is increasingly referred to, emanate from and produce selflessness.
The opposite is the truth.
Whatever its intentions, the entitlement state produces far more selfish people — and therefore, a far more selfish society — than a free-market economy. And once this widespread selfishness catches on, we have little evidence that it can be undone.
Here's an illustration: Last year, President Obama addressed a large audience of college students on the subject of health care. At one point in his speech, he announced that the students will now be able to remain on their parents' health insurance plan until age 26. I do not ever recall hearing a louder, more thunderous and sustained applause than I did then. I do not believe that if the president had announced that a cure for cancer had been discovered that the applause would have been louder or longer.
It is depressing to listen to that applause. To be told that one can be dependent on one's parents until age 26 should strike a young person who wants to grow up as demeaning, not as something to celebrate.
Throughout American history, the natural — or at least hoped for — inclination of a young person was to become a mature adult, independent of Mom and Dad, and to become a grown up. But in the welfare state, this is no longer the case.
In various European countries, it is increasingly common for young men to live with their parents into their 30s and even longer. Why not? In the welfare state, there is no shame in doing so.
The welfare state enables — and thereby produces — people whose preoccupations become more and more self-centered as time goes on:
How many benefits will I receive from the state?
How much will the state pay for my education?
How much will the state pay for my health care and when I retire?
What is the youngest age at which I can retire?
How much vacation time can I get each year?
How many days can I call in sick and get paid?
How many months can I claim paternity or maternity care money?
The list gets longer with each election of a left-wing party. And each entitlement becomes a "right" as the left transforms entitlements into the language of "rights" as quickly as possible.
What entitlements do, and what the transformation of entitlements into rights does, is create a citizenry that increasingly lacks the most important character trait — gratitude. Of all the characteristics needed for both a happy and morally decent life, none surpasses gratitude. Grateful people are happier, and grateful people are more morally decent. That is why we teach our children to say "thank you." But the welfare state undoes that. One does not express thanks for a right. So, instead of "thank you," the citizen of the welfare state is taught to say, "What more can I get?"
Yet, while producing increasingly selfish people, the mantra of the left, and therefore of the universities and the media, has been for generations that capitalism and the free market, not the welfare state, produces selfish people.
They succeed in part because demonizing conservatives and their values is a left-wing art. But the truth is that capitalism and the free market produce less selfish people. Teaching people to work hard and take care of themselves (and others) produces a less, not a more, selfish citizen.
Capitalism teaches people to work harder; the welfare state teaches people to want harder. Which is better?