Letter: Don't let liberalism transform us into a welfare state

Posted 7/3/19

In her column, “Is free always good?” Arlene Violet refers to some Warwick parents as “scofflaws” because, although they can afford to pay for their child’s school …

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Letter: Don't let liberalism transform us into a welfare state


In her column, “Is free always good?” Arlene Violet refers to some Warwick parents as “scofflaws” because, although they can afford to pay for their child’s school lunch, they expect the city to provide it as is done for low-income kids.

“Scoflaws” is a strong derogatory term but is apt in this situation, where some are looking to shirk their own parental responsibility.

More and more, we see people focused on “rights” rather than responsibilities; it has become a common trend — appalling when employed, able-bodied people feel that others should pick up the tab. No child should go hungry and no child should feel the stigma of reliance on charity; that is not acceptable in a nation such as ours.

However, more and more citizens — as well as non-citizens — expect the government — local, state, or national — to give them something to which they feel entitled, in this case free lunch; in others, Medicare- for- all or free college tuition. The list of demands could be endless for these “takers.”

Arlene Violet looks backward to the past, when people were raised to become independent and self-sufficient, to take pride in their own accomplishments and progress without expectation of free rides or government assistance.

There are indeed legitimate cases where humanity demands that we support those who are ill, incapacitated, or old — unable to provide for themselves. However, some of the elderly may be victims of their own poor financial habits or earlier irresponsible expenditure of money, lacking the foresight to provide for their futures.

As for free college tuition or erasing heavy debt incurred for higher education, that too is unfair to those who worked multiple jobs to fund their own tuition or whose parents saved all their lives, lived frugally to provide their children with this privilege. First, college is not the right route for everyone and should not be liberally extended to those who are not intellectually inclined or who might be better suited to a trade, still able to earn a lucrative wage.

Those seeking specialty training might better consider the military, but they must be ready to accept the pay-back of service required after completion of the program. This too is a responsibility.

Over the years, scholarships and financial aid have enabled those bright stars whose potential should be fostered to gain higher education. If anything, that should be expanded, as we’ve seen recently at a black college commencement where a generous, altruistic alumnus offered to pick up the tab for the tuition of all the graduates.

In short, with this country’s present overwhelming debt and severe immigration problems straining our schools, hospitals, public facilities, and charitable institutions, citizens must be willing to provide for themselves and their children who are their own responsibility. It is derelict and selfish to expect other hard-working people to carry the onerous burden of providing for all, even those who choose to be unproductive.

One female senator recently suggested that every citizen is entitled to a minimum standard of living and should be issued a monthly government check, whether or not they want to work. This is liberalism carried to the nth degree. Arlene Violet decries such “largesse” and declares that “Rhode Island is well along the path of being a welfare state!” This portends bankruptcy for Rhode Islanders.

Donna DeLeo Bruno

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.