The good and bad of government spending

I can sympathize with Mr. Ray Shamlin, a frequent contributor to the Bladen Journal’s opinion page. His letters talk a lot about his interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, the need for conservative judges, what the founding fathers intended, etc., but his bottom line is always the fact that he hates “social programs” and wants them eliminated. He writes about how these programs are bankrupting the country, destroying America, not authorized by the Constitution, and not government mandated by the Bible.

My point of view is different in that the Constitution does include provisions to provide for the welfare of the American people and certainly does not prohibit the programs that Mr. Shamlin so desperately wants to. But even though I disagree with him about the need and importance of programs that provide the most basic needs for the poor, I can sympathize with him because there is a lot of government spending that I strongly oppose as well.

For example, I hate the fact that our government spends five times as much on corporate welfare for companies like Exxon as it does to care for the poor and sick or to educate American children. I hate that our government spends more on weapons to kill than Russia, China, North Korea, Great Britain, and Canada combined spend on them. I hate the fact that our elected representatives in Congress are bought and paid for by groups like the National Rifle Association, Wall Street millionaires, the oil and gas industry, and insurance corporations to strip environmental protections and consumer protection regulations so that they can earn massive profits.

The Constitution created a system of taxes that is a cost of living in America, and I willingly pay my share. I am glad to see my tax money used to fund our national parks and monuments like Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore, and proud when the U.S. steps up to help nations in crisis after a natural disaster or a war. I am happy to help provide food, housing, and healthcare for people in our country who need help, and want our military personnel and veterans to have those things too. There are lots of others I am proud to help fund as well.

Maybe Mr. Shamlin can ease his frustration over spending on social programs by focusing on government spending that does meet with his approval. I would suggest thinking about things like “the wall,” tax cuts for the rich, and Trump’s $3 million per weekend golf trips that might take his mind off of the money he thinks is wasted on the poor.

Patsy Sheppard

Tar Heel