“I Do Not Believe In Welfare.” Ok. But They Love Some Socialism for the Rich.

NE Gov Pillen said, “I do not believe in welfare.” Well, sometimes. He certainly believes in the government helping to take care of CERTAIN SETS of people (who don’t need much help).

I do not believe in welfare.So when he says, “I do not believe in welfare,” that’s partly true. He does not want welfare for poor people, needy people, even if they are children, even if that exclusion damages them for life.  Sad to say – he takes government aid for his pigs, but not for his (state’s) kids.  Whew.

[Here’s good news!  Public Outcry in Nebraska – Then Gov Pillen Changed His Mind on $18 Million Child Food Aid  – Announced Mon Feb 12, article Sat Feb 17, 2024]

He should say it plainly, of course, “I don’t believe in welfare for poor people”. They really don’t deserve it, and it’s a bad habit to give tax money to undeserving people.

But They Think SOME Welfare is Crucial. (They Don’t Call It That, Of Course)

But if unjustified tax benefits accrue on large scale to wealthy people – well that’s just fitting.  And those benefits DO accrue to wealthy people – because of their manipulation of legislators, regulators,  and other policy setters, of financial options, of “good-old-boy” connections, etc.

But then wealthy people obviously deserve it. Everyone knows they are a much higher quality of human.

I.  “I Do Not Believe in Welfare” – So, No Help To Those Who Really Need It

America is now a hotbed of socialism. But it’s socialism for the rich. Everyone else is treated to harsh capitalism.
Pillen’s prejudice is so extreme he just refused 18 million dollars in food aid for children. Just said – Nope. Not gonna do that. I don’t believe in that.

And that’s a good chunk of change – a lot of food.

Here’s from an AP article, Hastings, NE, Tribune on December 30, 2023, regarding Pillen’s rejection of $18 million in food assistance for children.

Nebraska will not participate in the 2024 Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children – or summer EBT – program, Gov Jim Pillen said in a written statement. (Emphases added, as in all these quotes.)
Those families would receive $40 per eligible child per month over the summer …
“Nebraskans expect that pandemic-era relief programs will end …” Pillen said…  later defending that stance at a news conference by saying, “I don’t believe in welfare.” “

So you see, Pillen gives 2 reasons for not accepting the food-support funds.  “I don’t believe in welfare.”  And “Nebraskans expect that pandemic-era relief programs will end.”

“I don’t believe in welfare.”
Well, if that’s how a guy feels he should refuse to take a job (Governor) that involves oversight of all aspects of Nebraska’s welfare systems.
“I don’t believe in welfare.”
But America does; Nebraska does.

II.  And Our Dear Governor Surely Believes in Government Support for Wealthy People,

And any other kind of support he and other wealthy persons can get.

He’s the guy lifted into office by our enthusiastically  corrupt former Governor, Pete Ricketts.  Ricketts, naturally enough, wanted to buy himself a seat in the US Senate. So he did. So now he can pretend to be a true sophisticate, and a Very Important Person. All thanks to the cooperation of the guy, Jim Pillen, whom he lifted into the Governor’s Mansion – since he, Ricketts, was term limited out.

It was a repulsively shady series of unclear deals that involved the resignation of the former US Senator Ben Sasse, who somehow miraculously was offered a very well paying, very prestigious job in Florida. And voila! that left the Senate seat vacant for Pillen to fill, with guess who (initials are P.R.).

Anyway, wealthy people in general REALLY like the government to support “the market,” and shape it to their advantages, and support (often by ignoring) their business practices, their financial shenanigans, their very low (relatively) tax obligations, all kinds of tax breaks and financial and regulatory benefits.

I don’t know how to prove it, but I betcha Ricketts’ just (as in justly calculated) tax obligations are enough, for that one man, to easily cover that food welfare provision for undernourished Nebraska children. “Just”, as we well know, is not the same as “legal”.
Christian activists
But his appointee Pillen says, “I do not believe in welfare” (for needy people).
a) OF COURSE Pillen does not “believe in welfare” (for poor people).
b) HE’S NOT a poor person.
And that little moral couplet tells us all we need to know about some of these wealthy politicians who “do not believe in welfare” (for poor people).

(See the Micah article referenced in the pig picture.)

III. Can You See the Obvious “Socialism for the Rich and Rugged Individualism for the Poor”?

Does the government tend to take care of the wealthy?  Here are a few sources – credible, respected, and astute – on rich / poor issues in American life and politics:

— “Going forward, how about more inclusive capitalism for everyone and less knee-jerk socialism for rich people.”  Thomas Freidman, New York Times, Jan 2021
— “We renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country,” Donald Trump said recently.  Someone should alert him that America is now a hotbed of socialism. But it’s socialism for the rich. Everyone else is treated to harsh capitalism.  (Robert Reich in YES Magazine, 2019)
— Martin Luther King Jr, quoted in a tweet by Bernie Sanders.  Jan 26, 2023
“This country has socialism for the rich, rugged individualism for the poor.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
— There’s even a Wikipedia page:
“The argument has been raised and cited on many occasions. Variations of the concept include “privatize profits and socialize risks” (or “privatize gains and socialize risks“) as well as “free markets for the poor while state protection for the rich“.”

In truth this country has socialism for the rich and for large corporations – so let’s not begrudge the poor also getting a bit of helpful attention.

See Also on PublicChristian:
Micah on Economic Violence (& Abortion)

IV.  Diets for Childhood Obesity – Quality and Price of Food Are Key Issues

Here’s another bizarre rationale, recently offered from the Trump-flavored extreme of American governorships, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. She (and thus Iowa) is also opting out of this food benefit for needy children, saying (as quoted from the same article):

An EBT card does nothing to promote nutrition at a time when childhood obesity has become an epidemic.

Seriously?!  Madam Governor, it’s not TOO MUCH food.  It’s too much CRAPPY, CHEAP FOOD that’s the problem. Kids gotta have food, but better food – and that costs more!

Better nutrition is much more likely to come if more money is spent on children’s nutrition than if it is not. Cheap food is consistently less healthy and is very likely to promote obesity.  So she’s just exactly wrong!!

Why is Childhood Obesity Important? 

 From the World Health Organization [Notice that though this is written about “countries” it applies within countries as well.]:

Children in low- and middle-income countries [counties, families, situations] are more vulnerable to inadequate pre-natal, infant, and young child nutrition. At the same time, these children are exposed to high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt, energy-dense, and micronutrient-poor foods, which tend to be lower in cost but also lower in nutrient quality. These dietary patterns, in conjunction with lower levels of physical activity, result in sharp increases in childhood obesity while undernutrition issues remain unsolved.

Nutritional Management in Childhood Obesity” from the National Institutes of Health

an adequate nutritional intake of vitamins and minerals, whole grains, milk and dairy products, fruits, and vegetables in a balanced diet has been found to not only protect growth but also manage childhood obesity.

See Also on PublicChristian
Was Social Justice Part of Jesus’ Message? Oh Yes. 4 Scriptures.

V.  On RESISTING the “I don’t believe in welfare” fraud, that is, socialism only for the rich

Senators React

Here’s a ray of hope, from the Nebraska Examiner, Jan 4 2024.

A group of state senators are expressing hope they can reverse Gov. Jim Pillen’s recent rejection of $18 million in federal funds to expand a summer grocery benefit for low-income families.

Jesus Weighs In

And you know, sometime, somewhere, we should probably start concerning ourselves with the blunt and emphatic teaching of Jesus,

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ …
“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’”  (Mt 25:40,45)

“Why, Indeed.”

Or from the Hastings Tribune again, Alan Guebert’s column, Jan 6. (From the print edition. I could not find this article online.)

Jenni Benson, President of the Nebraska State Education Association asks the right question of Pillen, and by extension, Reynolds: “Why would we even question that people and children deserve food?”

Why, indeed.

Because Pillen says, “I do not believe in welfare.”

So – what do we want? 

  1. Rich people doing whatever they want while ignoring the poor kids’ suffering (and that of their families and communities)?
  2. Or would we rather have a society that cares about its kids – OUR kids?

If we prefer the latter, we need to start replacing poorly informed, utterly self-serving, dishonest, dangerous government leaders of the Ricketts – Pillen – Reynolds type.

SEE ALSO on PublicChristian:
Who’s More Moral, the Rich or the Poor? What Traits Go With Each Group? (John Ruskin)
There Is Great Hope for America, But We Have to Get Real. – Isaiah 58
Jesus Named Wicked Ways (9 Examples) – We Can’t Hide
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