If so, forget it.
A second-tier standard would be cell phones. You just aren’t broke if you have a cell phone. Nobody should have the right to other people’s money if they have cell phones and cable T.V. Please don’t tell me need money for food and water and diapers and…air, or whatever, while you’re texting your sister in Tulsa.
Many people claim that they need government assistance on everything from housing to medical care to education. And some truly do need it. I have enormous compassion for these people. As a doctor, I’m highly motivated to make sure these truly vulnerable people are taken care of and I believe withholding medical care from them for financial reasons is a travesty..immoral, even.
But many others who make their claims of need for government resources do it to free up cash for their cell phones and to pay for 684 channels including NFL Network so they don’t miss a game while sitting around the house not working. I find that my emotions toward these people are equally as intense as those for the truly needy, but they are feelings of anger rather than compassion.
Socalism actually would work, I think, if there was a way to thwart those who are lazy, materialistic parasites on the system. Since the fakes are so good at looking like the real thing, however, we have a dilemma. It’s hard to tell the real from the spurious. Some take the view that most people are of strong enough moral fiber that they won’t bilk the public good, and as such, we should treat any request for aid as legitimate. After all, you don’t want to miss someone who really has need even if that means you may at times give money and/or resources to someone who is faking it.
Others take the opposite position, also extreme, which is that far more people are faking need than we really know and so we should abolish the entire idea of social networks. Given the level of chicanery, they say, the entire system will collapse in bankruptcy (see exhibit A – Social Security) if we continue to give free money to whomever walks with a limp and says they can’t work.
Me? Depends on the day. Depends on the patient.
Sometimes, no matter what their story is, I’m not doing anything more than I need to do. I don’t set them up with community resources, don’t make extra phone calls, don’t get them connected with free services. They can find them on their own. Other times, I’m a white-boy version of Ceasar Chavez, out to save the world one poor, suffering human at a time. A good story, told in an earnest and guileless fashion, tends to increase my willingness to risk being duped.
But somewhere in there, count on it, I’m gonna slip in a question about cable T.V. and cell phones. If you have either one, forget it. Nobody owes you anything.