Getting people to understand that the social safety net is a good thing for everyone -- even the wealthy, and our economy -- is not difficult if your audience is willing to take the time and listen with an open mind.
The problem many people have is the idea of people continuously working the system and living off the state and thus the taxpayers for a large portion of their lives. They fear that once their children learn this behavior they will grow up and act in the same manner, which would create a vicious cycle. A learned entitlement mindset would create a problem.
My practical reply is this: Undoubtedly this is occurring on some level and will continue to occur. Some people will continue to live off the system and never give it a second thought. Nothing will change this and nothing ever will.
Fraud and abuse of the system must continue to be ferreted out and punished. New systems and technologies must continue to be developed that are able to track individual trends and provide prompts or red flags to the enforcement community.
The safety net is designed to get people on their feet after a difficult time. We cannot throw the baby out with the bath water. This is an important service and one that helps immunize one sector of the economy from the losses associated with another sector of the economy.
Do we eliminate the system so we can make sure that no one is abusing the system? No, we absolutely cannot afford to do that.
I admittedly have a far kinder view on those that are struggling in this society than my conservative friends. I perceive that the percentage of people who enjoy living off of the state is very small.
In conversations with friends I know that some stay on unemployment when a job is available because the unemployment checks are larger than what they would receive in their paycheck.
Therein lies the problem. The vast majority of us would strive to get off of government assistance, but more and more people are giving up hope. They are giving up hope because the path to real opportunity keeps getting smaller and smaller.
Every time Republicans cut spending on education a portion of the American dream dies. Every time Republicans strike down equal pay laws, a portion of the American dream dies. Every time a Republican succeeds in weakening the power of unions, a portion of the American dream dies. Every time Republicans eliminate or weaken child labor laws, a portion of the American dream dies.
If Paul Ryan and Republicans were to succeed in eliminating Medicare, senior citizens will have no security in their final years, and a portion of the American Dream would die.
If Republicans were able to do away with the minimum wage requirement like many are seeking to do, we will have lost all sense of decency, and a portion of the American Dream would die.
Republicans are systematically dismantling the American dream and they are doing this under a false banner of patriotism, a non-existent endorsement by God and by labeling everyone else as socialists.
Sometimes all a person needs is a dream to keep fighting. Kill the dream and you kill the spirit.
The apparent Republican goal to lower our worker's wage rates and benefits to a point where we are competitive with China's wage rates should not be what we strive for.
This is America. We should use innovation to create new industries and new markets. Markets where the prevailing wage rate can be higher than in other industries. We should invest in our youth and their education to create a pool of talented, industrious and passionate workers who deserve wages commensurate to their value to the work force.
If Democrats are not willing to resort to the tactics of the Republican Party and paint all Republicans as American dream "killers," then they better start presenting themselves as the great protectors of the American dream.