Just to critique Keith Olberman's Special Comment. The American safety net is not America's greatest accomplishment. He's simply dead wrong there and thats the nicest way to put it. The U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights are our greatest accomplishments. The two documents that guarantee our freedoms. That I believe some Americans unfortunately take for granted, but perhaps thats a different piece.
I'll start this piece with a question. Is that the job of the safety net to take care of people? The last time I check the role of a safety net is to catch people who fall and then help them back up. The term safety net implies that, to catch people who have fallen and then help them back up and To not leave them on the ground. The job of government is not to take care of people who are mentally able and physically able bodied. In America if you're physically and mentally capable of working, then your expected to. That the whole reason why we have limits on Unemployment Insurance and now for about fifteen years Welfare Insurance has time limits as well, people on Unemployment and Welfare are expected to go back to work, earn a living and be self-sufficient.
People who end up using public assistance are not expected to life off of taxpayers indefinitely and that government can help people go back to work and help them find jobs and give them assistance to go to school or go back to school to get a good job and not have to live off of taxpayers indefinitely. So when Keith Olberman implies that the safety net's job is to take care of people, he's essentially implying that the people who benefit from these safety net programs no longer have the freedom and responsibility to take care of themselves. Because government will do that for them.
The job of the safety net is to catch people who fall and then help them get back up on their own two feet. Yes, with temporary financial assistance, but more importantly down the the road empower people who need these social insurance programs and I'm not talking about Social Security and Medicare programs that people have paid into their whole lives, but the anti-poverty programs, with education and job placement. The best anti-poverty programs are a good education and a good job. Because then low-income people will become self-sufficient and be able to take care of themselves.
Government's job is to protect and defend its people, not take care of them indefinitely. And when people fall through the cracks, catch them with the safety net (so to speak) but then help them back up with a good education and a good job. So they can stand on their own two feet and take care of themselves.