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Wednesday, Apr. 23, 2014

Moral obligations include everyone

Sunday, March 20, 2005

The debate over Medicaid funding to the poor took an interesting twist this week in Missouri as lawmakers were told they had a "moral obligation" to care for the less fortunate. It's hard to argue with that logic because, in fact, we do, as a society, have a moral obligation to provide for those unable to provide for themselves.

But that argument misses the point. And here's why: When buying new shiny rims for your automobile is more important than taking care of your other obligations and responsibilities, then I have absolutely no moral obligation to provide for your needs. That is the point that all of this moral outrage should address. And far too many members of our society make those bad choices daily.

Why are we unable to say what we really mean? Why has political correctness frightened us to such a degree that we mumble around the edges of the problem without being honest? Do we fear we'll be labeled in a negative way if we say that which is so obvious - yet unspoken?

Here's what irks me. I see example after example of primarily young males who put more value in the appearance of their vehicle than they do in facing financial obligations to their families and to themselves. I am tired of paying for the medical needs, the housing needs, the food on the table and so much more, when they make no sacrifice or put forth any effort to improve their position in life. Don't tell me these are isolated and poor examples. I don't buy that lame argument.

Medicaid is the discussion of the day. But it's just the talking point of current discussion. The problem is much deeper. The real problem is the culture of irresponsibility and bad choices that forces all of society to pay for that behavior. There's no magic wand that will mandate responsibility - never has been and I doubt if it will ever exist. But who's at fault when a single female can justify $100 to a beauty shop visit when she is two months late on her rent? And who's at fault when a young man can buy a $500 leather coat while ignoring the need to purchase auto insurance instead?

Is there an irony to those who drive a new vehicle to the social service agency in order to pick up their benefit check? Or how about those who receive a disability check for physical limitations but are all too anxious to do odd jobs for cash?

The above examples crossed my desk this week alone. And sad to say, this was a fairly typical week.

All of this irresponsible behavior and these bad choices come to the front only because of the Medicaid discussion. That multi-billion dollar drain to the state taxpayers is without adequate checks and balances and during the past 10 years has not just expanded, it has exploded.

Yes indeed, we have a moral obligation to provide for those less fortunate. But that segment of society too has an obligation. At this point in our history, the recipients are all too often flaunting their choices without any regard to those who toil daily to provide their needs. Unless and until that culture changes, there will always be resistance to continuing the open-door policy of benevolence.

As the famous movie line says, "I'm tired as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore."



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