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As I See It: Where have they been?

I am shocked to the point of disbelief that basic welfare payments in Minnesota for some of the most needy have remained the same for almost the last 30 years. What have the all-caring, all-sensitive, all-seeing left wingers been doing during all...

I am shocked to the point of disbelief that basic welfare payments in Minnesota for some of the most needy have remained the same for almost the last 30 years. What have the all-caring, all-sensitive, all-seeing left wingers been doing during all those years? This Rip Van Winkle act is totally unacceptable.

Or, instead of being asleep perhaps the left-wingers have been preoccupied with so many other deeply important and burning (to the most rabid liberals) social issues like getting free birth control (even though abstinence is free and 100% effective); unimpeded access to abortion for any reason at just about any point in a pregnancy; anti-bullying education in schools; embryonic stem cell research; sex indoctrination under the guise of sex education; choose your gender today and which bathroom/locker room you want to use education; all-day kindergarten; elimination of tobacco everywhere while relying on exorbitant taxes to support government programs; or same-sex marriage.

I could go on and on in that vein, but you can probably add many more to my list.

We are so invested in our system of welfare that we cannot see the damage it has caused to our society. While we are patting ourselves on our backs for being compassionate, we are enabling the proliferation of the very things we are trying to fix. If you simply give a family enough money and resources to meet all their basic needs, you remove a powerful motivating factor to better themselves - a father is no longer responsible for providing for his family. His pride is destroyed and he is much more likely to leave the family. Perhaps if you put enough deadbeat dads in unpleasant jails for enough time you just might motivate them to provide sufficient support for their wives, ex-wives and children.

When clever politicians write laws and equally-clever bureaucrats write the practices and procedures to implement those laws, we end up with a bunch of categories, procedures, and other rules. No matter how clever the laws and procedures are written, we find that there simply is not a "one size fits all" approach to welfare. As soon as the laws and procedures are implemented, many recipients get busy figuring out how to game the system to qualify for more and more benefits. I would wager that if we could remove most of the fraud and abuse from the welfare system, we could easily pay significantly more to the families at the lower ends of the spectrum. But welfare that doesn't include a pathway out of welfare results in wasted money and wasted lives.

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I do agree that education is one of the pathways that can help raise people out of the economic distress and social black hole that has been created, but education itself is part of the problem. We need to start with motivated, motivating teachers who are given the authority they need and the level of pay that is commensurate with their value to our society and their performance as teachers. And we need an effective method to retrain and reinvigorate under-performing teachers or fire them - no matter their seniority - without years of union interference and legal maneuvering.

The federal government should get out of the education business and let the states handle it as determined by the citizens of each state. Admittedly, some states will be better than others but more common sense and flexibility in the system will benefit most students. Parents should become equal partners with teachers in motivating and educating their children. Too many parents dump their kids at the door and expect someone else to teach them everything. No wonder there is a dropout problem...that situation is unacceptable.

There should be a mandatory core curriculum of English, Math, Science(s), Social Studies (government and political science), History, Geography, and a foreign language for all high school students. Music, drama, art, metal working, auto mechanics and so on would be electives in most cases. Students could, and probably should, choose a college preparatory curriculum or a trade school path during their secondary years. And the use of outside resources including businesses, manufacturers, and others in providing educational and training expertise would be encouraged and perhaps should be incentivized, especially if employment is the end part of the process.

In both welfare and education we need some real innovation because we are currently losing on both counts.

That's the way I see it.

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