Posts archived in Government Assistance

I’m a little late to this thread, but it is a great window into the conservative ‘blame-the-victim’ mindset.

We all heard about the firefighters in Tennessee that refused to put out a fire at someone’s house because the homeowner didn’t pay a $75.00 firefighting fee.

How AMGers reacted was interesting. Many had the reflexive reaction of, hey, this was a failure in personal responsibility. No one’s fault but the homeowners. They’d have let it burn too.

Some, like Naran, and more surprisingly Melvin Udall, showed a little sympathy.

“J Fred,” however, comes down squarely on the side of victim-blaming.

Apparently the guy didn’t think paying the fire protection bill was important. Now he does. Man learns lesson about responsibility.

Don’t worry, though, government will fix the problem. They’ll take over the fire department and make it protect everybody. Free!

Two things notable here. First, having your house burn down is not a lesson in responsibility. It’s cruel and unusual. There are other options. I mean, if homeowners were notified ahead of time and still didn’t pay the fee, the fire department could probably bill $500 as a “non-subscriber use fee.” Then there is still punishment for failure to pay the fee, but it doesn’t mean losing a house and the family pets.

Second, look at J Fred’s last sentence. He sarcastically states that the government will take over the fire department and make it protect everyone for free. Well, yeah! That has worked pretty well for pretty much everyone the last 150 years, don’t you think?

The other thing that amazes me about the situation in Tennessee is that the fire department is assuming a lot of legal liability. What happens when they check the list of paid homeowners and the name is spelled wrong? The address is off? It is bound to happen eventually. If this policy remains in place, eventually they’re going to let the house burn belonging to someone who paid. Mistakes happen!

And then they’ll be facing a big lawsuit for the value of the house. Maybe emotional distress. Is it worth that risk just to stick it to a few people that didn’t pay a $75 fee?

And imagine an even worse scenario: they watch a house burn and, unbeknownst to anybody, there is a person inside. Instant wrongful death suit.

There’s only one thing to say about this policy: It’s stupid. They should put out all fires and sort out the fees later. That is the only human- and to the Department’s insurance carrier, safe- option. And as usual, a lot of AMGers just don’t bother to think it through because they want to jump on the blame bandwagon.

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Social Justice, Part Two

Here are some more points on social justice:

The development of economic activity and growth in production are meant to provide for the needs of human beings. Economic life is not meant solely to multiply goods produced and increase profit or power; it is ordered first of all to the service of persons, of the whole man, and of the entire human community. Economic activity, conducted according to its own proper methods, is to be exercised within the limits of the moral order, in keeping with SOCIAL JUSTICE so as to correspond to God’s plan for man.

I wholeheartedly agree with the above, other than the “God’s plan” bit. And then there is this:

A just wage is the legitimate fruit of work. To refuse or withhold it can be a grave injustice. In determining fair pay both the needs and the contributions of each person must be taken into account. “Remuneration for work should guarantee man the opportunity to provide a dignified livelihood for himself and his family on the material, social, cultural and spiritual level, taking into account the role and the productivity of each, the state of the business, and the common good.” Agreement between the parties is not sufficient to justify morally the amount to be received in wages.

Agreement between parties is not morally sufficient to justify the amount received in wages? That doesn’t sound like Tea Party capitalism. Where do these moonbatty ideas come from?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Let me continue to say that while I am not Catholic, I do tend to align very closely with the Catholic catechism on social justice issues. I think they do great work in this area.

This thread is useful when juxtaposed with the referenced article in the Bolshevik Daily News.

Basically, the BDN writes a small story about a state program that partners with Goodwill, Key Bank, and the Maine Automobile Dealers Association to provide cars to persons receiving government assistance. AMG users go up in arms. This is a great chance to discuss some of the myths perpetrated by AMGers and hard-core conservatives in general.

MYTH # 1

State employees are paid too much, thus sucking the life essence out of the Maine taxpayer.

BDN article: In fact, this state employee is so underpaid that she qualifies for food stamps.

MYTH #2

AMG conservatives aren’t mean-spirited, they just want “compassionate” conservatism.

Reality: Here we have a program that is as close to the “conservative” ideal as can possibly exist. It is a private-public partnership. A private charity runs the “ground-game,” i.e. collecting and preparing the cars for sale. The cars are not given to recipients but are subject to a loan with interest, which requires responsibility on the part of the recipient and fosters all the civil benefits of ownership that free-marketeers love to talk about. The cars themselves are not fancy; the woman in the BDN article received a 2001 Ford Taurus.

All of that isn’t enough to satisfy the AMG crazy-wing. Here is some AMG reaction:

Why did she need a car, wasn’t she getting to work without one?

Why does she need a loan for a DONATED car? Who’s getting the money?

The BDN seems to revel in all this largess.

Who pays when she defaults?

Only on AMG is a 2001 Ford Taurus, sold subject to a loan with interest, considered part of the “largess” of government.

MYTH #3

Government assistance exists only to create dependent voters. It doesn’t help people.

Government programs can provide persons with dignity and help them get back on their feet and, hopefully, boost them towards self-sufficiency. The subject of the BDN article put it best:

Roberts said her life has been “a long, hard road” but her determination to better her life for her family has kept her going, and the bumps nowadays are a little easier to manage, thanks in part because she has a vehicle to get around.

And she feels a sense of accomplishment every time she gets into her car.

“I work for it,” she said.

The first trip Roberts took in her car was off her typical beaten path.

“I took my family out to dinner … [at a restaurant] off the bus route,” she said.

Ms. Roberts is a voter trying to work and raise children. She might remember who was there to help her when she needed it.