It's Morally Wrong to Trap People in Poverty With Welfare Programs

The transition from using food stamps to cards that look like debit or credit cards has lessened the stigma of using government assistance. However, it's completely contrary to what Benjamin Franklin said about ending poverty:

I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed...that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.

RELATED: War on Poverty--Abusing the System

"I don't and won't look down on somebody who is using a Lone Star card or welfare stamps . . . I won't do that. My father made that very clear to me when I was a kid: You don't look down at those people. You don't know their situation. But I do want them, when they pull it out, to go, I wish I didn't have to do this."

Read below or watch the clip for answers to these uncomfortable questions:

• What advice did Glenn's father give after his bakery went bankrupt?

• Why is feeling uncomfortable a good thing?

• Does the YMCA offer free cable?

• Did Vanderbilt do a disservice to his children by giving them money?

• Why hasn't $22 trillion ended the War on Poverty?

Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:

GLENN: I have to tell you, this bothers me so deeply, the -- what's the Texas card called?

PAT: Lone Star card.

GLENN: It really bothers me that we have made the Lone Star card just like a credit card. And there's no looking down at that. There's no shame when you pull that out. And I know this is hard and hash, but I'm quoting Benjamin Franklin: The best way to help people in or out of their poverty is to make them uncomfortable in their poverty. We make things so comfortable, that there's no reason to get out.

PAT: Uh-huh.

GLENN: Opt out, why? It's more of a hassle.

PAT: Just by design, of course.

JEFFY: Well, yeah. I mean, they can control what you purchase, though. There are times when --

GLENN: Yes.

JEFFY: I've seen this happen where they have things on their conveyer belt that the card won't pay for.

GLENN: Correct. Correct. But I remember there was -- you know, with food stamps, there was some bit of shame in that.

JEFFY: Having to get it out and --

GLENN: Yes, and it was a little bit of shame. And, look, I know because I've lived it. I have lived having no money. I worked in my father's bakery. My father went bankrupt with his bakery. You know, we couldn't make ends meet. We had, you know, powdered milk. We never got to the food stamp place because my father and my grandfather were -- were both raised, "You don't do that. You don't do that. You do that if you cannot eat and cannot work."

STU: Always a last resort because you didn't want to deal with it.

GLENN: Right. But you go out and you work and you take any job at any level --

JEFFY: Right.

GLENN: -- and you pay for what you can. And if it's only food, then you go -- this is my father, "You go live at the YMCA, and you work and you buy food and you dig yourself back out."

JEFFY: I mean, the YMCA has cable, right? Because I can't --

PAT: Right.

STU: And obviously saying -- advocating for shame is not --

GLENN: No, it's not -- I'm not. Because I know there's a lot of people -- for instance, there's a lot of people that, you know, their husband dumped them and they got kids at home --

STU: There's a real reason for that.

GLENN: There's a real reason for that. So I don't want to inflict pain on people. I really don't. I don't want people -- for instance, I don't and won't look down on somebody who is using a Lone Star card or welfare stamps when we had food stamps. I won't do that. My father made that very clear to me when I was a kid. "You don't look down at those people. You don't know their situation." But I do want them, when they pull it out, to go, "I wish I didn't have to do this."

STU: How do I end it?

GLENN: How do I end this?

STU: Because we, as a society chose -- because both of these things are true. We don't people to feel shame, so we've tried to make the policy as easy as possible.

PAT: We don't want them to feel any discomfort about anything. Safe spaces. Trigger warnings. Pathetic.

GLENN: Yeah, what we're saying now -- what I'm saying now has got to be viewed by some -- and I don't even know by how many now as outrageously horrendous.

STU: Right. And so the point here is we know there's a problem here. We don't want people to feel bad. But as a society, we've chosen to eliminate the feelings rather try to eliminate the poverty.

GLENN: Yes, yes.

STU: And as Ben Franklin -- again, this is Ben freaking Franklin --

GLENN: Who started the first public hospital. Who started the volunteer fire departments. I mean, this guy -- who gave away his patent of the potbelly stove because it would help -- the number one cause of death in America for females was burning to death.

So he understood -- I don't need to make money on this. I have plenty of money. I'm going to give this away so everyone can make it and everyone can have the potbelly stove. So here's one of the most charitable men around, but he understood, the more you make people comfortable in their poverty, the more you strip them of the reasons of standing up on their own again. And that is morally wrong.

I believe we will have -- we will have to answer for the people we have crippled.

I had -- you know, my kids, my kids work for me. And when I had a new guy come in, John, who is president of my company, he said, "I don't want to manage your kids." And I said, "Why not?" And he said, "Are you kidding me?"

No. And I said, no, no, no, there's no different rules for them. There's no different rules. If they deserve to be fired, fire them.

"Right."

STU: Right.

JEFFY: Right.

GLENN: No, fire them.

JEFFY: You believe that, I know.

GLENN: What?

JEFFY: You believe that, I know.

GLENN: No, no, but I said to him, "And he'll be doing me a great disservice if he wouldn't be truthful with me." Moreover, he will be doing them a great disservice because you can't -- I talked to my kids just recently. I am so afraid that I am crippling them because they are working for me, and they like working with me. And they like, you know, being around and working as a family and blah, blah, blah. But I don't want to ever strip them of that -- like I won't -- I won't overpay my kids. You make market value.

STU: I mean, Glenn, you have been saying this since before some of them were born.

JEFFY: That's true.

STU: Literally, you believe this as a central part of your life. I still -- I would still be believing John.

JEFFY: Thank you.

STU: I would still be terrified by -- because you come into a new company. And the owner's kids -- I don't care what the owner says to you. I would be terrified about it.

GLENN: Yeah, but you know I mean it.

STU: But I know you mean it. Because you said it -- I mean, before Raphe and Cheyenne were even born, you were doing this on the air, talking about the Carnegies and going back to the --

GLENN: Vanderbilt.

STU: And the Vanderbilts. You know, talking about how they believed that they ruined their kids by --

GLENN: I tell my kids all the time, "You're not getting a dime." Because, A, dad is spending it all. But you're not getting a dime. I'm not leaving you stuff. I'm not leaving you stuff. You have to earn what you have. You have to.

And we cripple people by doing that. And there's no difference between -- I learned this, as Stu said, from Vanderbilt. I was standing in The Breakers, the Vanderbilt mansion. And there's this letter from Vanderbilt from his diary up on the wall of his bedroom where he used to write his diary. And I don't remember exactly what it said. But basically, the gist was: I fear I am doing my family a great disservice. The more I give them, the more I provide, the less incentive they have to be the person they were supposed to be.

And he did. He did a great disservice. And that stuck with me. And it's not just family. It's the country. If we cripple people, if you -- I'm an alcoholic. Anybody who -- and you guys know this. And I know -- Tania said, "You take a drink, I'm leaving you. I'm leaving you." And she means it. Any doubt in that one?

STU: Oh, no.

GLENN: She means that. I know you guys would be the same thing. You would not cover up for my drinking. You would not cover up for any kind of problem.

STU: We would exploit it for everything it's worth.

GLENN: Yeah, hello. Right? Because you'd know you were doing me a disservice. That's where we have to get. Compassion sometimes is really hard.

PAT: Yeah. We've spent -- we talked about this a bunch of times. We've spent $22 trillion on the War On Poverty. $22 trillion!

JEFFY: Where has that gone?

PAT: To make things better for poverty.

STU: That's a lot of compassion. That's a lot of compassion right there.

PAT: And all it's done is keep them in poverty. That's all it's done.

GLENN: And I think destroy the family.

PAT: It has. It has. Especially the black family.

Featured Image: Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) painting by Joseph Duplessis, Wiki Commons

Would Glenn make a better bounty hunter or a Jedi? You'll have to find out in a new episode of the Beltway Banthas Podcast, where Glenn goes deep on Star Wars with host Stephen Kent. In this 45 minute discussion, Stephen and Glenn explore the political themes of the Star Wars franchise, Darth Vader's redemption from Return of the Jedi, Glenn's earliest memories of seeing the films and even debate elements of the latest Star Wars films.

If you enjoy the pop culture and nerdy discussions that Glenn, Pat and Stu get into on the radio show, you'll love this! After you're through, you can also check out Stu Burguiere's appearance on Beltway Banthas to talk Star Wars. You can find that here.


It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?


https://shop.tomsteyer.com/collections/frontpage/products/tom-2020-pattern-tee


There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…

https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/bumper-stickers/products/yanggang-decal


Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…


https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/apparel/products/math-hat


But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…


https://store.johndelaney.com/products/dogs-for-delaney-collar


John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...


https://store.michaelbennet.com/michael-bennet-for-america-natural-canvas-tote/


Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…


https://store.jayinslee.com/elvis-the-elves-the-mystery-of-the-melting-snow-by-jay-inslee/


A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...


https://shop.stevebullock.com/collections/apparel/products/emoji-t-shirt


Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…


https://store.peteforamerica.com/collections/apparel/products/boot-edge-edge-t-shirt


And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…


https://store.julianforthefuture.com/julian-castro-loteria-card-white-tee/


When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…


https://store.marianne2020.com/collections/signs/products/love-rally-sign


"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/apparel/products/impolite-arrogant-women-make-history-unisex-t-shirt

-AND-

https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/drinkware/products/strong-american-unions-mug


Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…


https://store.kamalaharris.org/poster-for-the-people/


At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/artists-for-bernie-coaches-jacket


Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/feel-the-bern-fanny-pack


This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…


https://store.joebiden.com/collections/apparel/products/biden-polo-womens-fit


It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.