The NY Times, like most in the mainstream media, likes to seed discord amongst the ranks of the Republican Party. Consistent with this predilection, the Times recently published an article titled, “Ohio Governor Defies G.O.P. with Defense of Social Safety Net.” The article leads with the following quote from Ohio Governor John Kasich:
- “I’m concerned about the fact there seems to be a war on the poor. That if you’re poor, somehow you’re shiftless and lazy.”
I’m a longtime fan of Kasich, ever since he was chairman of the House Budget Committee that balanced the federal budget in the late 90s. He’s always been a free-thinking maverick/iconoclast, so this recent policy position is not surprising. But as a conservative who is not trying to win an election, I wonder about the soundness of the position.
My most recent entry in my blog concerned the movie titled, “Waiting Room,” and it portrayed the experience of those waiting to be seen by a doctor in a county hospital. Those people were poor and could be generally described as “shiftless and lazy” – i.e., no ambition and no energy.
A social safety net is described by Wikipedia as programs designed to prevent “the poor or those vulnerable to shocks and poverty from falling below a certain poverty level.” The challenge to America’s safety net is to distinguish between those who need help because of a shock or an incapacity to participate in our modern economy.
Kasich will, of course, say things for popular consumption, but he needs to recognize that one size does not fit all. Some people will respond to opportunity; others are basket cases.