05/16/13 — Protest this: Complacency is cruelty when it comes to helping poor

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Protest this: Complacency is cruelty when it comes to helping poor

The very definition of stupidity is continuing to do the same thing over and over again -- even when it is obvious that it is not working.

So even though there have been a good number of arrests as the NAACP leads protest of the Republican leadership policies they say are "targeting" the state's poor, the truth is there needs to be a change.

More people without jobs.

More people without the educational skills they need to succeed.

And more people on food stamps and state aid and long-term unemployment.

Does that sound like the policies are working?

We ought to be familiar with this call for change. It is the same one that is being made at the national level as taxpayers and leaders struggle to figure out what to do about more demands for aid and fewer taxpayers to pay the bills.

The solution really is kind of obvious.

We need more taxpayers.

Keeping families in poverty and not pushing for programs that give them the skills they need to start productive lives -- and not creating incentives for them to utilize those programs -- that is cruel. It traps them in a circle of dependency that becomes generational -- and inescapable.

We need a stick, too, for those who have turned state aid into a lifestyle, and the means to require them to make the necessary changes -- and to force them to better model successful outcomes for their children.

Of course, it is not going to be easy.

Of course, there will be some temporary pain along the way.

But if our goal really is to make the lives of the state's struggling families better -- this is the only way.

We need new programs, new ideas and the realization that obviously just handing out money is not the answer.

What we don't need are politically motivated protests and distractions from the real issues.

That is how we will move forward.

Published in Editorials on May 16, 2013 10:52 AM