Thursday, October 18, 2012

Red vs. Blue

Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic has a great article about the different ways that social programs are implemented across the nation. Cohn's overarching premise is that conservative states, such as Texas, follow a social Darwinist approach to social programs by only offering the bare minimum, while more liberal states like Massachusetts follow a more "New Deal" type philosophy by providing a broad range of supports to all different types of people. While Cohn is clearly in favor of the Blue state approach, it's not merely because of personal preference. As the article points out, the blue states are doing better. They spend more, sure, but they have lower poverty rates, better education, less of an income gap, and overall better health and wellness.

Cohn's point is that, while there is no right answer in how to approach social programs, there does seem to be ample evidence that some ways just don't seem to work. As he points out early in the article, it's not just political views, but how one perceives the role of government and personal accountability in our world. In the Blue states (which happen to be largely Democratic), the view is that we all have to work together, that there is a social contract that says we all benefit when we help those who need it most. In the Red states (which happen to be largely Republican), the view is that we all have to work hard for ourselves, and no one deserves a handout.

I know that there are people out there on both sides of this issue, and it speaks to one of the greatest debates of our nation's history. Indeed, this could be the fundamental debate of our entire existance, so long as we extrapolate to all the other issues. As I've stated in previous posts, there's no right answer in an extreme solution. No one side is perfect, and we often have the best results when we compromise. But in this debate, in this argument, it seems there is little to compromise on. Both sides see the other as morally reprehensible. That's a tough divide to bridge.

So, is it possible to come together? I think so, but only if we accept that we must. If we are not convinced of that, we have no hope of common solutions to our common problems.

1 comment:

samp said...

Those who truly are in need should be helped. No problem. Those who suck up the system for generations with no meaningful employment should not. Illegal aliens are energetic regarding their sneaking into the U.S. & taking jobs from Americans. However, I do not condone nor will I ever condone, rewarding them for that. Period. What part if ILLEGAL don't people understand. Change what they do to legal through the legislative process if that's what everyone wants but to ignore them is repugnant & dangerous. NO we can not deport 12 million illegal aliens all at once. But we can deport them as we discover them as being illegally in the U.S. But instead we choose to "support" their illegal status. We are suppose to be a nations of laws; but I guess those laws do not apply or are ignored when it comes to illegal aliens. Or better yet our President makes his own Immigration laws through executive orders which are of questionable constitutionality. I was under the impression we had three branches of government and that this would be under the purview of the legislative branch. But hey it helps the illegals. So it's good thing right?