Governments are chiefly responsible for five functions with respect to their citizens. These functions are spelled out in the preamble of our own Constitution: establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2008, an estimated 300,000 people lived in poverty in Kansas. That number has increased to more than 384,000. It seems some in the government forgot about the general welfare of the people. Someone is not doing their job.
In May of last year, the Kansas government eliminated income taxes for almost 200,000 small businesses while simultaneously eliminating tax breaks for childcare expenses. Governor Brownback supported these actions, creating one of the largest tax cuts in Kansas history. Brownback, a self-proclaimed Catholic, supported budget cuts that took money away from public assistance in order to give businesses a tax break.
We already have a homeless problem in Johnson County. How does this type of governance help those people? How does this type of governance assist the mentally ill who live on the street? Will a tax break for small businesses reduce the homeless population? Does this promote the welfare of all the people or just some? Will these small businesses use their extra profit to make donations? These are the questions we should ask ourselves and of our leaders.
We at The Ledger do not presume to have the answers. Our purpose is to just ask questions and have our readership ask questions. Travel to the area of North 5th Street and Minnesota Ave in Kansas City, Kan. There exists one of several tent cities, a community of homeless huddling together for safety.
Obviously the government and its actions cannot be blamed for the choices of individuals. We are where we are because it is exactly where we chose to be. But a self-proclaimed Catholic should know how to help his fellow man.
Intelligent men and women caught in the wrong place at the wrong time need hope. They need to know that no one finds poverty acceptable in the country that boasts itself the greatest nation in the world. They need to know that no one believes children should have to skip a meal because they can’t afford to eat. The inherent decency of all humankind refuses to let these issues be swept under the rug.
The Ledger urges our readership to do what the government sometimes won’t: help. If you can afford to donate money to any of the numerous local charities, please do so. If you can donate valuable time to volunteer for one of these organizations, please do so.
Not only will volunteering help others, it will help you develop a greater appreciation for just how great the problems of poverty and homelessness really are. The Ledger staff calls upon its readership to act American by helping Americans.