We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
One must wonder how people survived and thrived here in America for hundreds of years without food stamps, government benefits, or a maternal government. Perhaps they had a different mind-set.
1) Local government always did provide benefits to the poor. It was, however, not imagined that this was a Federal or even a State obligation, it was handled by the village or County.
2) Such assistance was expected to supplement support from your family, friends, neighbors and church, not replace it.
3) Absent a gross physical or mental handicap, success or failure was understood to be a function of your own individual efforts, not due to your sex, race, religion, ethnic origin or in general membership in an "oppressed" group.
4) Life was not expected to be "fair". "Fairness" did not demand that differences between you and the person next to you be made up by the government. The fact that someone else was rich did not mean that you were thereby diminished and that they owed you something.
5) The freedom to succeed was understood to be inextricably tied to the freedom to fail. Failure was not everyone else's fault, and it was not the government's job to protect you from it.
The Barrister: One must wonder how people survived and thrived here in America for hundreds of years without food stamps, government benefits, or a maternal government. Perhaps they had a different mind-set.
Keep in mind that life expectancy was much shorter, and people usually worked until they dropped. Not too many people would want to return to those days.
The extended family was an important safeguard in traditional society. Modern society is much more fluid than it was, and the extended family has been replaced by the nuclear family, which, though more economically flexible, is also more prone to problems if one parent either leaves or becomes seriously ill and can't work.
During the Great Depression, rural people had the choice of either staying and trying to eek out a living in depressed communities or leaving their elderly parents behind to suffer deprivation. In effect, Social Security helps the previous generation be independent, so their children can be economically mobile.
The modern economy precludes the extended family in most situations. Adult siblings often live in different cities, close to where they work, with their own homes in which to raise their own children.
As for Medicare, more people are living longer, and modern medicine is much more than laudanum and a tonic. If you eliminate the extremes of medical expense for people in the last six months of life, then you would solve most of the projected Medicare deficit.