(It was) recently reported that the number of poor in the U.S., as defined by our government, has reached epidemic proportions. One in seven families receiving food stamps (accepted at some restaurants), Medicaid funds stretched to the breaking point and all manner of social welfare programs running full tilt.

Social Security Disability Income claims spike 50 percent as the unemployed run out of two years of benefits (but fail to report cash payments). This is a driving reason why some in our society believe that more entitlements are necessary to alleviate the suffering despite our massive national debt. This notion pulls at the heartstrings of most citizens, but what is the truth about this issue? When 'progressives' use the term it conjures up homeless veterans and parentless children living like trolls under local bridges - vulnerable and being preyed upon by a non-caring society. Yes, some of this occurs, but most of these individuals are drug- or alcohol- dependent or suffer mental disorders. They are offered alternative solutions.

America's poor (and their children) rarely go hungry, have a long term roof over their heads, own a large screen TV (although not HD/3D) hooked to cable, have access to transportation or own autos, entertain themselves on their X-Box and communicate via cell phones. The vast majority of the world's poor would break laws to be poor in America. Oops - they already do. America's poor are not at all the same as some international poor seen televised each week by the alphabet stations, but 'progressives' would like us to believe that 'if not for a little good fortune, there go I.' In America today, this thinking is, of course, nonsense.

America remains the land of opportunity where the Puritan work ethic is alive and well. But, there exists segments of our society that believe ... taxpayer-funded entitlement programs are, in fact, a way of life. What's worse is that there are those among us, to include our government, that encourage this type of thinking. They failed to apply themselves in school, in work, and in life. When merely showing up to a job ready to work equals success, they choose not to appear. JFK mused that a 6 percent unemployment rate is understandable because that percentage never wanted to work in the first place. Yet, 'progressives' rail against the idea that the world doesn't owe everyone a living regarding income redistribution.

The goal of this current government is to take our money and redistribute it to their friends -Stimulus I, II, III, and now proposed IV. We do care and protect the truly vulnerable and needy, but the central government cannot execute programs as efficiently as local entities. The waste and fraud that accompanies national programs chafes the commonsense of many taxpayers.

Taxpayers - a vanishing breed. If America doesn't get its arms around these concepts, the future looks bleak.

Noel R. Wolfe is a resident of of Lake Oswego.

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