In his first commencement speech as president, President Trump told the graduating class of 2017 at Liberty University that “in America, we don’t worship government, we worship God.”
The “we don’t worship government” part of President Trump’s statement caught my eye. It is a noteworthy phrase coming from a president who has called for reform of the U.S. welfare system.
Recognizing the political benefits that come from offering free goods to their constituents, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been reluctant to curb the ballooning welfare state.
As a result, politicians and the media have squabbled over the “morality” of reforming welfare for decades, blasting such a move as “cruel, heartless and inhumane”. On the contrary, reforming welfare is a moral obligation of government.
Mick Mulvaney, a former South Carolina congressman turned President Trump’s budget director, said as much in his testimony before the House Budget Committee in May.
“This is a moral document and here’s the moral side: If I take money from you and have no intention of ever giving it back, that’s not debt — that is theft,” Mulvaney said. “If I take money from you and show you how I can pay it back to you — that is debt.”
“We don’t want to measure compassion by the number of programs we have and the number of people on them — true compassion is the number of people we want to try to get off of those programs and get back in charge of their own lives,” Mulvaney added.
By ignoring the need to reform an out-of-control welfare system, the U.S. government has failed to preserve and protect the natural rights promised to every American citizen, which are: life, liberty and property.
There are legitimate instances of bad things happening to good people, and government welfare programs were established for the express purpose of providing assistance to individuals in such circumstances until their situation improves. However, don’t be fooled: there are some who are willing to trade their free rights for free handouts.
These are the types of people who have transformed the welfare system into the mess it is today. It isn’t the people in poverty who desperately need government assistance — it is the individuals who can, but won’t work.
It is proven that welfare can lessen a person’s desire to find a job and provide for one’s own family. And once an individual relinquishes their liberty and property to a faceless bureaucracy, they also forfeit the right to choose how they want to live their life.
Since the mid-1930s, when welfare was born as a result the Social Security Act of 1935, dramatic changes have taken place within the U.S. welfare system. Today, millions of Americans have signed up for one or more federally funded “means-tested programs” — otherwise known as welfare.
In 2012, 109,631,000 Americans were living in households taking federal welfare benefits, which equaled 35.4 percent of all 309,467,000 people living in the United States at that time, according to data released by the Census Bureau.
These numbers are shocking.
While it is true that overhauling the welfare system and implementing genuine welfare reform is not an easy task, at least the current president has shown a willingness to try.
As a former real-estate tycoon, President Trump understands the value of hard work.
Prior to running for elected office, Trump spent decades in the private sector developing and building all sorts of structures, including skyscrapers, golf courses and hotels. Therefore, it makes sense that his administration would propose a budget that ends dependency on welfare and puts workers back to work.
In his 2011 book, Time to Get Tough, Trump praised welfare reform for emphasizing work and said other welfare programs should follow the same approach.
“That’s what I find so morally offensive about welfare dependency: it robs people of the chance to improve,” Trump writes. “Work gives every day a sense of purpose. A job well done provides a sense of pride and accomplishment.”
Later in the book, Trump adds that one of his “favorite parts of business” is watching how working helps to “transform people into better, more confident, more competent individuals.”
While discussing welfare in a June interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, though, Trump said people need even more of an incentive to work — which he would seek to create.
“We have to create incentives that they actually do much better by working,” Trump said in the interview. “Right now, they have a disincentive. They have an incentive not to work.”
“The problem we have right now, we have a society that sits back and says we’re not going to do anything. And, eventually, the 50 percent cannot carry, and it’s unfair to them, but cannot carry the other 50 percent,” Trump explained to Hannity.
The government is showing compassion toward its citizens when it takes steps to reform programs that are causing the average taxpayer more harm than good. Because every welfare program is funded by taxpayer dollars, it is only rational for the government to cut wasteful spending in these programs.
In his proposed budgetary blueprint, President Trump laid out his priorities in a message to Congress.
“We are going to do more with less, and make the Government lean and accountable to the people,” Trump wrote.
“These cuts are sensible and rational. Every agency and department will be driven to achieve greater efficiency and to eliminate wasteful spending in carrying out their honorable service to the American people,” Trump concluded.
President Trump recognizes that “in America, we worship God,” not the government. The government is not responsible for providing us with our food and clothing; instead, it is God who has promised to provide us these things.
Consider what Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Matthew 6:25-32 (ESV)
While certain, ineffective members of Congress are already describing the president’s budget as “dead on arrival,” it is reassuring to know that the president understands that the welfare system will only be reformed once Americans begin to place their faith back in God.