Midland Daily News editor Jack Telfer’s thoughtful and heartfelt blog posting this week began with this statement. “Many conservatives have a difficult time with government social welfare programs.” As a progressive, I also have a difficult time with government social welfare programs. As a progressive, I believe that the social contract between the people, the private sector and the government should function so that such programs are not necessary. As a progressive living in a nation committed to a form of capitalist economy, I believe that more than enough profit exists to adequately support return on investment, to fairly compensate labor and to sustain an appropriate social infrastructure guaranteeing future prosperity for all.
The problem arises when the system gets out of balance. When the private sector seeks to maximize its share of profits at all costs, then resources available for social welfare decline. When the private sector then uses its profits to corrupt government and control public policy to its exclusive benefit, then democracy suffers. When the private sector seeks to control the application of all profits — even those designated for the benefit of the people and society — then freedom and self-determination suffer.
I agree with Jack — people of faith can lead the way to achieving balance. By calling on all parties to first ensure the basic safety and well-being of all people, we can meet social welfare needs before profits are skimmed, and not after the fact with expensive and bureaucratic government programs. By calling on the private sector to be responsible citizens, then everyone — investors, businesses, labor and government — is credited with their contributions to profit generation. By calling on the people to serve the public interests selflessly and to participate in our democratic processes, we expose light on those who would corrupt our government for their personal gain.
I eagerly anticipate a continuation of this dialogue. Our current environment of name calling and victim blaming serves no purpose and wastes the opportunity that is the United States in the history of humankind.