Helping The Poor vs. Keeping Government Small: The Phony Choice

Ah, Wilderness!  Ah, Compassionate Conservatism!  The former brings you fresh air, the latter makes you gag!

Governor John Kasich of Ohio, who has stumbled politically several times and blamed everyone but himself, yesterday insisted that God, or more specifically, Saint Peter, was on his side about accepting BIG BRObama’s poison pill known as Medicaid Expansion.

“The most-important thing for this legislature to think about: Put yourself in somebody else’s shoes. Put yourself in the shoes of a mother and a father of an adult child that is struggling. Walk in somebody else’s moccasins. Understand that poverty is real.”

Kasich continued: “I had a conversation with one of the members of the legislature the other day. I said, ‘I respect the fact that you believe in small government. I do, too. I also know that you’re a person of faith.

‘Now, when you die and get to the meeting with St. Peter, he’s probably not going to ask you much about what you did about keeping government small. But he is going to ask you what you did for the poor. You better have a good answer.’  ”

(My emphasis above.  See:


If, after reading that, you wanted to scream and throw a brick at the dog, I understand!  Because again we see that old phony choice: “Only BIG GOVERNMENT can help the poor!”

Perhaps…just perhaps…if governments (township, city, county, state, federal) were smaller, people would have more money to help the poor the old-fashioned way, through their churches and social organizations and even individually.

Allow me to note for Governor Kasich that Jesus did NOT say: “Pay more taxes, so your government can hire more bureaucrats to siphon off 95% of the taxes for themselves and give the remaining 5% to the poor.”

Allow me also to note that the main, empirically proven way to help the poor is through the prosperity offered by a free-market capitalism, where people find at least part of the their self-worth and self-satisfaction through work, no matter how menial.  Right now, China, India, Africa and various other usually impoverished areas are finally rising up from the poverty that has plagued them for centuries: the solution is not Communism or humanitarian aid, but Capitalism and humanitarian investment!

A hand-out does not bring self-esteem: in the short-term it brings relief.  However, in the long run a hand-out fosters resentment, humiliation, and entitlement.  And hand-outs administered by a government fosters poverty, since the bureaucrats have an interest in perpetuating poverty to preserve their positions as “poverty bureaucrats.”

If our poverty programs actually were supposed to work and eliminate poverty, the government bureaucrats would be working to un-employ themselves.  How many people work in order to lose their job, because that would be the result, if they did their jobs well?

Saint Peter – I would hope – understands the difference between helping the poor of one’s own free will, and “helping the poor” through the pernicious perversity of a government program.  Let us hope that Governor Kasich may be knocked off his high horse of pseudo-humanitarianism and be blinded by this obvious enlightenment!

After a suitable meditation on his past sins, then he may rejoin us as a reinvigorated leader, like Saint Paul!  Right now, however, as far as I am concerned, Governor Kasich is still throwing stones (i.e. Medicaid Expansion) at Stephen (i.e. us).