Balance: The Key to Coming Together

Creating a Win-Win Situation

What the politicians don't understand is, the goals of U.S. welfare programs should be seen not as competing goals, but as equally valued founding ideals, which need to be kept in balance.

The framers of the Constitution realized that the horse named “Pursuit of Happiness” must remain yoked to the horse named “Life and Liberty”, or the whole wagon would crash. In the 1830's, political philosopher Alexis deTocqueville saw America as a balance of goodness and greatness.1 In the 1990's, historian Marvin Olasky wrote about compassion and conservatism.2 As the 21st century opened, ambassador Alan Keyes called for a return to the ideals of individual liberty, balanced with social responsibility.3

A Balance of Security and Opportunity

Some may protest that with our two-party system and the frequent hostility between the White House and Capitol Hill, pursuing twin goals is impossible. So many government programs are unbalanced, sacrificing one good for another. Welfare plans designed to be a “safety net” become more like a "spider's web."

Yet, the Constitution itself encourages us. It has protected both our love of independence and our belief in brotherhood for over 230 years!

We believe that, with a balanced, comprehensive approach to welfare reform and tax reform — not a patchwork of conflicting “fixes” — we can promote and protect two genuine American ideals: Security and Opportunity.

But this approach must work like the Constitution does, that is, Welfare Reform must apply to ALL Americans. It must be a system, as well as a foundation, which reflects both of these ideals — for all of us. ALL of us desire Security and Opportunity, for our own families, and for our fellow citizens.


COMPASSION
In government?

FREEDOM
From government?

DICHOTOMY
Can we
break
government
gridlock?

THE
PROBLEMS
Disincentives:
Does getting ahead actually leave you behind?

Means Testing:
Creating class envy?

 

One Nation, Indivisible, Coming Together

Americans are a people of compassion; we hate to see others suffer. We want the poor, disabled and elderly to feel secure about their future. We also value freedom, a practical freedom that allows individuals, families, and businesses to pursue lawful interests without constant government involvement or interference. We want our children to feel that this is a land of opportunity.

Should this apparent dichotomy, or tension, divide us?

What if, instead of taking sides, we start "Coming Together?" What if, instead of competition, we seek balance?

What would Welfare look like if Americans were truly "Coming Together?"


1Alexis deTocqueville, Democracy in America (1840). The quotation, usually attributed to deTocqueville, is "America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great."

2Marvin Olasky, Ph.D., Compassionate Conservatism: What It Is, What It Does, and How It Can Change America (New York: Free Press, Simon and Schuster, 2000).

3Keyes, Alan, Our Character, Our Future: Reclaiming America's Moral Destiny (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, Harper Collins Publishers, 1996). "[The American Dream] ...is the dream of self-government that comes from respecting the fact that, in the end, freedom is not just a choice, it is not just an opportunity. It can be a burden and a sacrifice." p.14.