Letter to the Editor: Dependence on the government is financial slavery

Whippings. Beatings. Heat. Malnourishment. Disease. Absolutely no promise for an improved future. This is only the introduction of characteristics African slaves were forced to endure throughout the unfathomable institution of slavery over the course of hundreds of years of American history up until the late 19th century.

While the usage of slavery in the aforementioned context has thankfully been eliminated, I propose that a new definition of slavery has taken shape in contemporary America at the hands of social welfare. A lack of employment opportunity in combination with the prevalence and accessibility of long-term government “assistance” has created a dependence on the government for the lower class, most particularly, African-Americans.

My name is Matthew Hesterman and I am an 18-year-old high school student from Camden, Delaware. As a young conservative, I am often ostracized for the views which I hold or am subject to the labels that the average peer will commonly project.

Due to the fact that I am a white male in the year of 2017, I am viewed by many as someone who cannot relate to the many burdens and struggles of the American minority and unfortunately they would be right. I cannot relate to the troublesome situation that many in this country endure. I cannot relate to the Guatemalan immigrant who works three jobs to provide for their family. I cannot relate to the single mother who makes many daily sacrifices just to ensure that her kids have a better life than her own. Perhaps most pertinent to the modern age, I cannot relate to a large percentage of African-Americans who have been subject to financial slavery. However, my inability to relate to this situation does not interfere with my want to sympathize and certainly does not hinder a feasible approach to obtaining a solution for this institutional problem.

This new type of slavery which I have branded as “financial slavery,” stems all the way back to 1865 with the conclusion of the American Civil War. With the passage of the 13th Amendment, slavery in the United States was made illegal and the era of reconstruction began. The short-lived period of attempting to promote civil liberties for former slaves proved to be ineffective as segregation laws and white supremacist groups emerged. Institutional racism ensued for African-Americans almost a century later where black citizens were commonly not afforded the same opportunities as white citizens.

It was not until the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s where such discrimination was made illegal under federal law. Under the administration of President Johnson, his vision for a Great Society took vehement action against racial injustice and poverty by establishing wide-sweeping welfare programs which included the permanent status of food stamps and public housing programs.

The primary intention of this “hand-up” program was met with success, where the hand-up denoted the eventual gaining of a job for a lower-class citizen. However, what happens when there is no up? What happens when entry-level positions are being stymied due to excessive corporate tax rates? The result is the transformation of a hand-up to a handout. Accompanying this handout is the marginal hope for a future job because the acclamation to welfare has become a forced way of life. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 21st century.

By the year 2012, under the Obama administration, the corporate tax rate was 35 percent and one of the highest in the world. If corporations were not moving overseas, then lower-level positions were being eliminated. Labor force participation continuously dropped throughout the course of the Obama presidency, a clear indicator that many had given up hope in their job search.

After all, families with children and any individual over the age of 50 requiring food stamps can receive these benefits without any time limitations if they remain eligible. Overall, a job is being traded for a handout. A handout that a family must survive on for an entire month until the government provides another.

I am not criticizing those who use welfare. I am criticizing an oversized government that has somehow legitimized the excessive taxing of corporations in exchange for a permanent handout. I have sympathy for those who are enslaved to a government that would rather keep its citizens financially dependent on the monthly granting of food rather than afford its citizens the opportunity to grow in the workplace.

The intended form of welfare is absolutely necessary in today’s day and age. A hand-up into a job is exactly what is required in modern America and can be achieved in unison with a much lower corporate tax rate.

Finally, the point I am trying to prove is that many Americans have not had the opportunity to achieve their American dream, especially many African-Americans. From the conclusion of slavery up until today, there has not been a sufficient period of American history that has been free of a combination of discrimination laws, excessive corporate tax and long-term welfare dependence.

With the elimination of all three of these factors, economic success and growth will ensue for many who are currently in the lower class. The repetitive trend and societal detriment of long term slavery to the government has been perpetuated by the left and has assumed the mask of help, compassion and support.

While I do believe that those who differ from my ideology also have the best will for the country at heart, their steadfast devotion to an agenda that includes long term social welfare has ultimately stifled any chance of upward mobility for those of the lower class. It is imperative for those who wish to escape the clutches of the government to identify this faux method of survival if they wish to attain long-term prosperity. It is time to break the chains once and for all.

Matthew Hesterman


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