The United States federal government has a moral obligation to provide a social safety net to its citizens who are struggling to get by in order to provide a more stable economy and happier society.
The latest mantra coming from GOP leaders in the House of Representatives is a budget cut of“$61 billion to domestic programs and foreign aid”. (Seattle Times) The nature of these cuts would prove to undermine many social programs vital to our economic recovery and future stability as a nation. The Atlantic Magazine’s Andrew Sullivan, published an article stating President Obama proposed budget cuts deeply into “non defense discretionary spending” the means “that could be among the most important things government could do to help Americans create wealth themselves. And yet this is the onlyspending Obama wants to cut.” (Sullivan)
Washington First Securities Analyst Steve Jones commented that these social programs keep “money flowing through the system”. Through providing these social safety nets to those most vunerable in our society, the government eases the boom and bust cycle inherent in our capitalist economy. “Keynesian economics” he continued, “keeps the economy functioning during times of reduced private sector economic activity.”
The United States government social safety net operates closely to Rita Manning’s Just Caring theory. Programs such unemployment, food stamps, and social security fulfill Manning’s “Disposition to care” by providing “institutions” that “support and sustain caring while simultaneously reducing the need for care by eliminating the poverty, despair, and indifference that create a need for care.”(Manning) These programs essentially allow individuals to get out of the current disparity and take care of themselves without the government directly and intrusively dictating how to spend the money.
These social programs providing by the U.S. government also uphold an element of utilitarianism by providing folks with the dignity and respect they deserve in order to get them back on their feet. Utilitarianism is the moral theory that states “the greatest happiness principle is the ultimate principle of morality.” (Shanahan) In our society, upholding programs that allow happiness is one way to achieve an element of Utilitarianism. These social programs provide a way to uphold the integrity and respect for the unemployed father of four, the widowed wife whose working her way through school, or anybody else who is “down and out”. Financial stability is in an integral part of happiness and a paycheck, regardless of its size, is one means to maintain happiness during these rough times in our lives.
Many Republicans, and some Democrats, would like to cut many social programs many Americans utilize everyday and help keep our society afloat. We, the people should never forgo the United States government obligation to uphold it’s end of our economic recovery and the general “welfare” of the people. The private sector non government organizations cannot alleviate the suffering of our society alone. Truly, the issue that confronts Congress is a moral issue on how to provide for the poor in this distressing economic climate and the solution created will carve the way for the economic recovery ahead of us.
Excerpt from an essay written in Philosophy 215.
Just Caring; Rita C. Manning From Speaking From the Heart: A Feminist Perspective on Ethics, 1992.Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Sullivan, Andrew. "Obama To The Next Generation: Screw You, Suckers." The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan. 14 Feb. 2011. Web. 26 Feb. 2011. <http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2011/02/obama-to-the-obama-generation-youre-on-your-own.html>.
Shanahan Timothy & Robin Wang Reason and Insight. 2nd Ed. Wadsworth-Thomson Learning
Mascaro, Lisa. "Politics | Wall Street Sees House GOP Cuts as 'drag' | Seattle Times Newspaper." The Seattle Times | Seattle Times Newspaper. 23 Feb. 2011. Web. 26 Feb. 2011. <http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/2014314374_spending24.html>.