This is an expansion on the earlier discussion between Firebird and myself.
As I mentioned in those comments, when we took in my wife’s mentally disabled brother, our household went from being a net payer of money to the Federal Government to being a net receiver of money as a result of the subsidies paid directly to him through SSI Disability and also to us for acting as his caretaker.
Firebird pointed out, correctly, that in times past those costs would have been borne entirely by us and by whatever support we could garner from the community. That choice is still one we could have taken – we could have refused those benefits and taken on those costs ourselves. I could have worked another job to cover the expenses and looked for help in the community. The Amish do that – but we didn’t.
The government money was there and we took it.
As Joshua Sanders pointed out in an unrelated posting, this sort of thing was not thought to be the purview of the Federal Government by the Founders and the authorization to fund these payments is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution.
Maybe Joshua is correct in – I infer – his opinion that folks like my brother-in-law should not be subsidized by the Federal Government. But I can think of other programs that do not have a basis in the beliefs of the Founding Fathers that cost the taxpayers as much or more. Foreign aid to Israel and Egypt. Maintaining overseas bases. The TARP program. Corn farming subsidies. NASA – and I like NASA.
If the goal is to save taxpayer money, there are plenty of programs that cost more than aid to the mentally retarded. I don’t hear much about cutting those, though. They seem to benefit the politically powerful.
I like to think that none of my fellow Authors or Commenters begrudges my taking this Federal largess. Firebird – bless her – has said she doesn’t.
This isn’t something we do for the money – the agency that handles the subsidy has asked us to consider taking in another mentally retarded adult for whom we would receive payments as caretakers, but we have declined – this is something that makes a difficult family situation less difficult.