The most serious, most profound and most pressing example of inequality in our country today is not sexual orientation, gender, or race. It is economic. Poverty begets more poverty, continuing from one generation to the next, as long as government social safety net programs continue to undermine personal responsibility and initiative by creating ever more dependency among our nation’s most disadvantaged. Republicans should quit whining about Obama not mentioning deficits in his inaugural address and instead seize upon the principles in his speech to press even harder for entitlement reform and for returning to the successful welfare work requirements that were signed into law almost 20 years.
We don’t need to raise taxes to keep the promises made to seniors who spent their working years paying into social security and medicare programs. We don’t need to raise taxes to invest more in early childhood programs. We need to reform entitlements so that we can continue to keep our promises to seniors and near seniors, and as important, we need a completely new approach to helping children who are born into poverty. For starters, we need school choice, and we need to dismantle the power of teacher’s unions that perpetuates the wildly unfair, unjust, and amoral program of teacher tenure. The teaching profession must be a meritocracy. Otherwise, we will continue to advance the careers of ill-suited teachers at the expense of our children.
For an interesting article from the NY Times this week on the issue of inequality among children, click here. From the same writer at the NY Times, click here for another article about how government programs often perpetuate poverty rather than fix it.
The meaning behind the title of my blog is as much about doing better by children and by people in poverty as it as about anything else. I just hope a leading Republican like Paul Ryan will soon have a larger voice on these matters and that we will hear a lot less from the Eric Cantor wing of the party (e.g. Amash, Huelskamp and anybody else Speaker Boehner kicked of key committees due to their intransigence.)