Thursday, February 9, 2012

GOP and the Poor

Mitt Romney says the darnedest things.

Take, for example, when he said, “I like being able to fire people.” Well, what he actually said was, “I want individuals to have their own insurance. That means the insurance company will have an incentive to keep you healthy. It also means if you don’t like what they do, you can fire them. I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.”

Now he says he doesn't care about the poor.

But one of government's chief responsibilities is to protect the poor. Government is to protect everyone, but especially the weak against the strong: the unborn, children (where their parents fail), widows (if they have no family), orphans, and the poor (if they are genuinely destitute). The Bible promises divine wrath for those who "devour" the poor (Prov. 30:14).

But the poor who really are poor are usually forgotten, powerless, easy prey, and exploited even by the governments that are supposed to protect them. We don't have as many of them as some would have us believe, as the Heritage Foundation points out. But that does not make those who are genuinely poor, especially for reasons other than vice, people to be ignored.

See my column on this topic, "Romney and the Politics of the Poor." I also have an article coming up in Relevant magazine that speaks to this subject.

Let me add two points.

Romney distinguishes between “the very poor” and “the heart of America, the 95% of Americans who are right now struggling.” The Census Bureau is certainly using inflated figures when it claims that 1 in 7 of us is poor, but the figure is likely to be higher Romney's 5%. However many there are, they are a serious moral concern.
The governor is right to be concerned as he is with the middle class. One would think that they could take care of themselves. They have skills, education, and desire to provide for themselves. But they need protection precisely against the government which hampers the economy with one hand and with the other shreds the social fabric by neglect and meddling. If government would just restrict itself to its proper role, the middle class would spring back in fine shape.

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