Entitlement Programs in the United States

The effect the welfare state has on America and minority communities

by: Maricio Barreto

On Monday, September 24th, the Carolina Liberty Foundation, in conjunction with the Carolina Review, proudly hosted syndicated columnist and founder of CURE (Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education) Star Parker to give a talk entitled “The Failures of the Welfare State”. As a woman who lived off of the welfare state as a teen and young adult, she was able to give a comprehensive personal testimony of the dangerous effects of fast-growing American entitlement programs and the harm they have on all of us, and in particular, minority groups.

She began her talk speaking of her life for seven years on welfare, and how consistent shoplifting and the four abortions she had during this time period defined her life. Parker proceeded to admit that it wasn’t until she had a personal self-realization and decided to go back to school that she got out of the welfare state and realized how capitalism truly allowed her to realize her newly recognized goals in life and move her life forward. She continued to say that it was with this new motivation that she was able to succeed, and start a center for education called CURE that dedicates itself to marketing solutions to fighting poverty. Parker equated the government role in education to “pouring gasoline on a fire”, in that it’s programs are just further hurting the education system in America and the students involved.

It was here that Parker began to speak of the initiation of large entitlement programs that occurred mainly in the 1960’s. Parker made it clear that the social entitlement programs made in this era did not help the African American community, but instead created monstrous moral problems and addicted countless American citizens to the government for decades afterwards. She went further to say that the government’s involvement in citizens’ lives initiated the breakdown of family life, which caused a direct breakdown of performance in schools as well as a higher amount of criminal activity, especially in minority groups. Parker argued that the role of government was to protect our interests and pursuits, not to plunder them, and yet over the past few decades we have been seeing more of the later.

Parker then shifted gears, and started giving solutions to these problems she so fundamentally disagrees with. Parker argued that under our current system, government dependency has become an expectation of a majority of the population and is only hurting us. She proposed various changes she wishes to see in the education system like a voucher system that allows families to have school choice and also gives schools the opportunity to compete for students and in exchange be forced to provide better results and higher quality academics. She also talked about how the current retirement system is a sham. The current social security system is a one-fits-all system into which people pay their entire lives via taxes, and get the benefits when they hit the retirement age. While that sounds like a legitimate plan, Parker showed that her organization brought back data that showed that on average the African American male will lose twenty cents for every dollar he puts into the social security system. Parker stressed that the only way to truly be free is to own your own retirement, your own healthcare, and your own education with as little government involved as possible. She then proposed direct solutions with alternatives like premium support systems in the realm of healthcare and education that encourage free market exchange, higher quality programs, and allow those in poverty to break free of government welfare.

To expand, Parker stated that entitlement programs are not only a huge problem for the American population, but also for the country as well. She also argued that entitlement programs she labeled as “Poverty Programs”, like Medicaid, which do not have funding arms, allow people to reap benefits anytime, anywhere, for any reason, and without any form of restrictions. Its programs like these that are bankrupting our nation. She continued by giving examples from her own state of California, where Nancy Pelosi has increased the minimum wage, in turn causing unemployment to continue to increase and only further hurting the lower classes. Parker then called out the hypocrisy in most of the entitlement programs, and how bureaucrats are quick to sign welfare programs into law, and simultaneously exclude themselves from the very programs they initiated. In specific she noted how Nancy Pelosi, in reference to raising the minimum wage, excluded her husband’s company from the very bill she passed through. Parker then went on to say that entitlement programs give the lower classes longer waiting lines and reduced quality of care, while allowing the rich to travel the world and pick top notch care, which is the opposite of what they are aimed to achieve.

To Parker, there is an alarming ideological crisis occurring today in the Untied States. She says that government expansion has been on a fast track in the recent decades and is expanding in areas it should never be in. Parker made the accurate case that under Capitalism, the poor look and become more like the rich, but under socialism, the rich become more like the poor. She argued that redistribution of wealth is against common moral code because it is not only theft, but also an act of coveting others goods. Parker concluded that “Liberalism is an equal opportunity destroyer”, and that, sooner or later, liberals will run out of other people’s money. In closing, she quoted the famous Frederick Douglas speech concerning his pride in the Republican Party: “I am a Republican, a black, dyed in the wool Republican, and I never intend to belong to any other party than the party of freedom and progress.”

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