As the holidays approach, we’re constantly reminded about wants verses needs.  Masterfully crafted advertisements have even convinced many of us that our “wants” are truly “needs.”  The line between wants and needs has become blurred throughout our entire society!  The fact that the 2012 Farm Bill has yet to pass, and 2013, is coming to a close is proof positive.


Photo Credited to Mrs. Ricca’s Kindergarten Website.

Right about now you might be thinking, “Wow.  Larry isn’t feeling the holiday spirit.”  The truth is, I love the holidays.  I enjoy spending time with my family and friends any day throughout the year, but especially between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.  It’s just that life must go on – and chores must be done – regardless of what day it is or what season is upon us.

That’s why today I’m addressing a very serious topic that’s weighing on me heavily given recent events.  Reader discretion is advised as I may not be politically correct at times.  It’s a hot-button issue of mine that was pushed when I read a story over the weekend in The Des Moines Register.

On November 29, Register reporter Sharyn Jackson wrote, “Child care costs are holding back Iowa families.”  A national study found that in 2012 a single mother in Iowa with one infant, earning the state median income for single-mother families, spent an average of $9,053, or 37.4 percent of her income, on child care.  During the summer, when her two children are off from school, one single mother from Indianola spent more than 90 percent of her paycheck on daycare for just three days a week of care.

This is a story close to my heart because two of my kids are raising their families alone, and they struggle to make ends meet.  It’s definitely tough for single-parent homes, which brings up the topic of divorce and the moral fight over whether it is right or wrong.  Having personally gone through a divorce, and knowing the situation for both of my kids who have gone through one, I believe divorce is sometimes the best decision!

I understand that some things have been done in the past that cannot be ignored, and there is a reason I am so passionately against abortion.  There is a reason I so love my instant family that was given to me on my 30th birthday.  Some things in life were meant to test your faith, and how you handle these hardships make you who you are!

Then, what about parenthood before marriage?  Yep, it also happens to good people.  One of my very good friends is a conservative, Christian, wife and mother, who was once was a single, college-student mother on food stamps.  After keeping quiet about it for a decade, this Food Stamps Mom broke her silence.  Katie Pinke, on the Pinke Post, wrote:

I needed to build a life for my son. I didn’t want him to be a statistic. I wanted him to be in the most loving, supportive environment possible.  Food stamps were a part of my solution to create a future for my son and me.  Food stamps helped me for two years and childcare assistance just six months longer. 

She goes on to write:

When I graduated from college, I earned a salary. I had health insurance. My son was four years old. I called my caseworker and told her I no longer needed to receive benefits. I was breaking free!

Did she congratulate me? Hardly.

She expressed her concern that I wouldn’t be in need anymore. She assured me I could still probably qualify for some services. The truth is, I never wanted to go back to social services. I never wanted to slide that food stamps card at the grocery store again… I wanted more for my son. I wanted freedom and ability to provide on my own.

Providing a temporary hand up, rather than a permanent hand out, was the original intent of the food stamp program, which is now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  Unfortunately, generations of families have become dependent on public assistance.  The number of people on welfare has sky rocketed during the last six years.

Another sidebar thought: Does the income limit in place to qualify for food stamps hold people back from the Middles Class?  It seems to reason to me if The Register article says income requirements to qualify for state childcare are holding people back from the Middle Class that the same holds true for SNAP.  Parameters of the childcare assistance program prevent these low-income families from becoming part of the Middle Class.  Government rules holding them back because these Americans are incented to either quit their jobs or not apply for jobs to qualify for assistance.

What about subsidized housing? I just read about the USDA making grants available.

The fact is, society has changed.  Much of this change has been caused by government programs. Back in “the good old days,” we didn’t have so many government assistance programs.  Families, churches, communities, and friends were there to help.  And, people were motivated to change their circumstances by working harder and longer!

It’s been reported there is a dire shortage of skilled laborers in Iowa, and this shortage is holding back job creation.  I know from personal experience that it’s next to impossible to run a successful business without skilled labor.  Between the lack of skilled workers and no lack of new government regulation, creating new jobs is tough!

So what’s the solution?

  • Lessen government regulation.
  • Provide better and more access to education.
  • Teach the younger generation right from wrong.
  • Restore a sense of accomplishment from a job well done; restore the sense of pride from working hard and doing things for yourself.
  • Don’t expecting the government or someone else to do it or give it to you!

There isn’t any one easy fix in reality, but the current path America is taking is not working: free food, free phones, free baby care, free housing, and the list goes on!  My point is that government needs to get back to doing what it was designed to do, starting with protecting our borders and preventing enemy attacks!  If we keep going deeper and deeper in to debt, the government will not be able to handle its requirements.  Wants can no longer replace needs.