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Travis Rowley: Jack Reed’s Scam

Monday, December 26, 2011


“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.” – Alexis de Tocqueville

Offering Senator Jack Reed (D) a flattering headline – “Sen. Reed’s Christmas Gift for Homeless: $4.6 Million in Aid” – GoLocalProv reported this week that Reed is bringing home “$4.6 million in federal Continuum of Care funding to combat homelessness.”

This is what passes as a “Christmas gift” in big-government circles – having Washington take money from Rhode Island taxpayers, only to have their US Senator redistribute that money to those who don’t pay taxes. Or, more simply – bringing Rhode Island taxes to Washington, only to redirect those taxes back to Rhode Island.

Here’s your Christmas gift. It’s your wallet!

And I know what you’re thinking: Eighty years of ever-expanding government programs designed to assist the needy, yet we’re still “combat[ing] homelessness?” Maybe it’s time for a different tact.

Seriously, people. You don’t have a home yet?

Liberal Results

Big-government liberalism spawned by the New Deal of the 1930s began to shower scores of do-gooder policies upon the American People, the purpose of most being to eradicate poverty. Eighty years later, poverty still exists.

In fact, with the growth of government, we’ve only experienced an expansion of poverty.

Consider this: How many people were on food stamps before a food stamp program existed? Zero. But years after the initial implementation of the food stamp program, we discover that one out of seven Americans is currently “relying” on SNAP – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Nice work, liberals.

Democrats still contend, however, that their policies are temporary and aimed at getting people off the government dole. Senator Reed assures us that this latest grant will give people “an opportunity to return to self-sufficiency and independence.”

To liberals, paradise is always just around the corner. One more federal grant will always solve the problem. A further expansion of the welfare state is the path to prosperity.

According to Democrats, the fact that “the demand for beds at shelters [is] at an all-time high” is their chief justification for throwing more government money at the problem. As GoLocalProv.com reports, “The state’s swelling homeless population has caused homelessness advocates to call for more action to be taken by the state this winter.”

Reed has responded to their cries, calling the new “federal funding” a “smart investment.” According to the prominent Democrat, it will help in “reducing homelessness in Rhode Island…We are committed to preventing and ending homelessness throughout the state, and these funds are vital to keeping that commitment.”

Just one more grant!

Democrats’ Poverty Industry

These policies aren’t “smart.” And neither is Senator Reed. He’s just a Democrat – someone who doesn’t understand free markets or human nature; someone who doesn’t truly believe in liberty or independence; someone who only trusts the stability of the world under the conditions that he has the power to control, and provide for, the lives of others.

While the National Journal ranked Sheldon Whitehouse the “most liberal” US Senator earlier this year, according to WPRI, “Jack Reed was right behind him…vot[ing] for liberal policies 81% of the time.”

Last May, in coordination with RI Housing and US Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Reed delivered “$1.2 million in grant funds to support two homeless programs in Rhode Island.” These “new grants” were “in support of ongoing efforts to end homelessness in the state.”

“Ongoing” is an understatement. Five months earlier Reed and HUD had “awarded an additional $4.8 million to renew funding to 44 existing Rhode Island programs.” Several years ago Reed “authored the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act of 2009.” And in 2008 Reed announced that “the Urban League of Rhode Island will get $200,000 for a program that provides temporary homes and other services to homeless adolescents.” (Providence Journal)

Seriously, people. You don’t have a home yet?

Democrats: Un-American

Democrats simply don’t have the governmental discipline to be responsible stewards of American power, as they continuously shirk the primary warning of America’s founders: “The natural order of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” (T. Jefferson). Two centuries later Ronald Reagan would confront America’s progressives, reminding them, “As government expands, liberty contracts” – only to have Democrats respond with violent demagoguery, informing voters that Republican attacks on the welfare state were rooted in cruelty, racism, and selfishness; that a rollback of government programs would lead to starvation, death, and Jim Crow oppression.

Armed with a flattering perception of themselves as exceptionally bright and caring, progressive Democrats don’t view government as an eternal entity, determined to grow and destined to oppress its subjects. They see government as their brand new tool of social improvement. Therefore, each newly-elected progressive ends up contributing to governmental reach by unleashing his own tired liberalism, never realizing its inherent destructiveness.

If Senator Reed truly wanted to “end homelessness,” he would advocate for the scrapping of all federal welfare programs, and to lower the federal tax burden on Rhode Islanders, actually keeping Rhode Island money in – get this – Rhode Island!

In doing so, the economic impact to the Ocean State would be far greater than Reed’s dribble of federal funds, which, before reaching the state’s homeless population, are inefficiently filtered through progressive entities like Washington, DC and RI Housing.

But Jack Reed will continue to bring back the pork, Rhode Islanders’ money disguised as free federal funds that will undoubtedly “end homelessness” and generate economic activity for the state.

But it’s all a scam. Homelessness will never be solved by Democratic policies. And federal grants don’t generate lasting economic growth. But they do keep Jack Reed in power.


Travis Rowley (TravisRowley.com) is chairman of the RI Young Republicans and a consultant for the Barry Hinckley Campaign for US Senate.

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