Before Lyndon Johnson left the White House in 1969, it had already become apparent that his War on Poverty had resulted in some harmful, unintended consequences, especially increases in illegitimacy and dependency on government. Today, about 40% of births in America are out of wedlock, while about 15% of Americans receive Food Stamp benefits, about 20% are enrolled in Medicaid, and about 4% live in subsidized housing.
Since 2003, about half of the births in Arizona have been paid for by the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System. This is unsustainable.
Government at any level should not compel taxpayers to do things for strangers that they would not do even for their own children. I believe that most parents would not tolerate drug use, sexual promiscuity, or membership in criminal street gangs by children still dependent on them financially. The state has no right to use tax money to subsidize such irresponsible or criminal behavior.
It is family, friends, neighbors, and philanthropic organizations that should play the largest roles in charity work, not government. With rare exceptions such as natural disasters or acts of war, I feel that the state has no business engaging in charity work. The Welfare State is one of the things that have hurt America the most over the last 50 years. It has greatly undermined Americans’ self-reliance and cost many trillions of dollars nationwide over the years, while promoting drug abuse and gang membership. It is imperative that Arizona work patiently and consistently to shrink public welfare programs.
The most obvious first step, in my opinion, should be to do everything reasonably possible to break the inter-generational chain of welfare dependency that has plagued America since the late 1960s. To do this, the state should require adoption of babies born in Arizona to indigent mothers. Further, state law should require the mother to identify the biological father of her child, and both mother and father should be required to pay child support until the child turns 18. These changes, I believe, would greatly reduce the practice of some indigent women to conceive children out of wedlock. That would benefit Arizona’s children, and taxpayers, over the long term.
Arizona should strive to be the best place possible for people who live within the law and pay their own way. Public policies guided by fiscal responsibility, law and order, and less government will help achieve that.
Paid for by John Lyon for Arizona House of Representatives