Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Charles Murray's Plan to Replace the Welfare State

One of the difficult problems of being in the practice side of things (as opposed to the policy side) is the lack of credibility it brings to your arguments.

Why is this?

For instance, in reading Mr. Murray's fascinating proposal to just give every American $10,000.00 dollars a year in lieu of "social services", in order to address the inequities inherent in the welfare systems we have cobbled together, a person practicing in the field of pediatric special needs is wont to say: "hello! most of my kids spend that much in one month!" and go on about her business.

Of course, Mr. Murray and other policy types simply accuse practitioners like me of being beneficiaries ourselves of the welfare state, in the form of salaries and etc. So our voices (being the interested parties we are) don't count.

Well, probably because I'm a nurse and that guarantees a good amount of job security (if they close down the welfare state I'm pretty sure they'll still need nurses) I say nonsense! humbug! bah! and all sorts of other words too impolite to stoop to.

It's not the proposals to get rid of the "welfare state" per se to which I object. I also don't object to holding people responsible for what they do, nor in finding incentives to make otherwise capable people responsible for their own family's welfare.

It's the helpless, the ones who will never be able to assume that mantle, those who need our assistance to live daily lives of worth and dignity---it's those people who are disposable under any system like what Mr. Murray is being said to have proposed (I admit, I haven't read the book).

A place must be made for those who need help. A society without a way to take care of the truly needful is not my idea of utopia.

But, what do I know? I'm just a nurse employed by the welfare state.



Blogger Kim said...

I've never equated "the welfare state" with those who are helpless - when I think of "welfare" I think of getting a check every month while you stand on a street corner or spend it all on cigarettes and booze instead of looking for a job.

We need to decrease the incentives for able bodied folk keep using "the system".

Those who NEED help - the truly helpless amongst us should always have access to what they need.

I'm not good at my Bible verses but there is one in there that (paraphrased) says that "when you do for the least of my breathren, you do for Me".

And maybe it's nurses, no matter who they are employed by, who are in a position to make sure that happens.

3:58 AM  

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