When the Great Depression hit in 1929 everything changed. Jobs were lost, families were forced to relocate, and people were forced to live much more frugally in order to stay afloat. Something else that changed, though, was the way that the government interacted with the public, especially in matters of finance. When Franklin D. Roosevelt began administering the New Deal beginning in 1933, people began receiving financial aid from the government, which was instrumental in bringing America from its economic crisis.
All of a sudden, the public’s view of the government’s role in their finance shifted. With the new knowledge that the government could give them money when they got into trouble, some started to believe that the government owed them that money, as an institution based on freedom. Is this idea true, though? If freedom is made possible when our basic material needs are met, does the government have a role to play in establishing economic security and securing basic economic rights?
The answer to this question isn’t as easy as a simple “yes” or “no.” I believe that the government certainly has its place in helping out financially, but that this power can be very, very easily abused. So my answer is more like “Yes, but as far as restrictions are set in place early on so as to avoid the possibility of abuse.”
What I mean by “abuse” is actions taken that don’t actually help the individuals they are claiming to help. For example, if the government simply paid everyone’s expenses all the time, that wouldn’t really help toward the goal of freedom; it would help toward the goal of lazy Americans. The trick is to do things that will be helpful to those that need it, but allow people to spread their own wings and become economically self-reliant. That will create a truly great country.
So how does that happen? Well, I don’t claim to be an economic expert by any means, but I believe that measures could be taken to make sure that those requesting financial aid are truly in need of aid, and aren’t simply trying to take money for nothing. This could include comparing someone’s income to their minimum expenses, and possibly even developing financial plans for those who aren’t very good with their money. Or maybe requesting a long- term plan regarding how they will use the money they are receiving before granting them the financial support. Again, I’m no financial expert, but I believe that there are several ways to work out this problem.
The point is that the vision for Americans should be high. The government certainly has a parental role in that it should protect its citizens, but also in that it should do everything it can to help those citizens become responsible with their money and their time. Doing so will lead to a successful country, and much prosperity in the lives of its citizens. And if the government simply paid everyone’s expenses all the time, that wouldn’t really help toward the goal of freedom.