Life is too easy for the poor

By Rod Haxton, editor

We learned this past week that when it comes to making America great again, not all Americans get to share in that greatness.

And we should be grateful it’s that way.

Big government has made us soft. We’ve come to expect too much from government - except when it comes to bullets and bombs and then we should expect much more.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan reminded us that Republicans in Congress are “doing an act of mercy” by repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a plan that, over the next 10 years, will result in 24 million fewer Americans having health insurance coverage.

That’s 24 million people who will be thankful they learned that health care is really a luxury, not a necessity. That’s millions of people who will be grateful Republicans taught them to plan ahead and hold hamburger feeds or garage sales in order to raise the money needed for a heart bypass or cancer treatment.

Democrats would like you to think you are entitled to health care. It takes a merciful Republican Party to teach us that if you can’t afford health care you probably didn’t need it in the first place.

And, given the growing rates of obesity and diabetes in this nation, maybe this whole food thing is just a little exaggerated.

The value of after-school programs which include meals, as well as free and reduced-price lunch programs for those families who qualify, are overrated and a waste of tax dollars. The proposed federal budget recently unveiled by the Trump Administration eliminates spending for those programs.

Budget chief Mick Mulvaney is convinced that bleeding heart liberals have been manipulated by youngsters with growling bellies. By being so naive as to think a hungry child really needs food, we have helped to set the stage for future government dependence on things like child labor laws, workplace safety requirements, the minimum wage and Social Security.

In defending cuts to programs that provide food for poor kids, Mulvaney explained, “They’re supposed to help kids who don’t get fed at home get fed so they can do better in school. Guess what? There’s no demonstrable evidence they’re actually doing that.”

After hearing that, it should anger all liberals to imagine how long these young kids have been playing us for suckers.

Oh, but it’s not just young kids we should be angry with. Our parents and grandparents are just as guilty.

The Trump budget will eliminate funding for Meals on Wheels because the elderly, the sick and the homebound have been learning from their grade school counterparts and decided they are also entitled to at least one free meal every day.

Once again, Mulvaney pulled back the curtain on this hoax and said that while Meals on Wheels “sounds great” it’s unfair to expect taxpayers to continue supporting a program which has no proven effect.

That’s right. There’s not one university study, not one federal government report that says eating a warm meal at least once a day helps an elderly person to do anything but continue to be a burden on our Social Security system.

In fact, Mulvaney borrowed a line from Congressman Ryan by declaring the decision to eliminate Meals on Wheels “one of the most compassionate things we can do.”

Who said compassionate conservatism had left the White House with Bush 43?


Perhaps the most troubling thing about the proposed Trump budget is that it’s shattering our trust in the innocence of our kids and our elderly. Who could have imagined they’d been scamming us for a hot meal all these years when we could have been using that money to buy lottery tickets or, better yet, make a downpayment on a $2.6 billion wall between us and Mexico?

Greatness in America isn’t measured by how much we look after the least among us, but by how the least among us can learn to overcome the obstacles that we place along their path in life.

We’re fortunate to have leadership in Washington, D.C., and closer to home which understands this.

Governor Brownback’s refusal to expand Medicaid in Kansas isn’t a heartless gesture by someone more concerned with protecting tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations.

It’s an act of mercy.

When Congressman Roger Marshall says “the poor will always be with us,” it’s his way of saying that poor people have no reason not to remain poor as long as the government provides such luxuries as health care.

The silence we hear from Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran is an acknowledgement that the best way to help the poor is by eliminating meal programs, making health care more difficult to obtain and, for good measure, putting Big Bird in the unemployment line.

What we have mistakenly seen as compassion, conservative Republicans have recognized for years as simply a means of enabling the poor to remain in poverty.

The enlightened thinking of leaders such as Brownback, Trump and our Kansas delegation to Congress makes it clear that until the impoverished are eliminated, you can’t eliminate poverty.

This is how a nation becomes great . . . again.

Rod Haxton can be reached at


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