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We Can Do Better

In this land of surplus “milk and honey,” there’s no reason why the basic needs of each citizen cannot be met.

June 4, 2013
Joe Bialek - Cleveland, Ohio , Maui Weekly

This letter is in response to the articles covering the reduction of food stamps.

With all the debate recently for amending the U.S. Constitution in favor of certain issues and/or those constituencies, perhaps a more appropriate amendment should guarantee each citizen the right to food, clothing, shelter and medical care.

Poverty is defined as the condition of being poor or lacking the necessary means of support to live or meet needs. Today we read of enormous corporate tax breaks, outsourcing of jobs overseas and outrageous salaries "earned" by athletes/entertainers.

More recently came the revelation of the billions of dollars spent by the U.S. on two wars.

In the meantime, the number of those in poverty continues to increase. The Old Testament of the Bible often makes references to a promised land flowing with milk and honey. All one has to do in this country is take a trip to the grocery store or department store and bear witness to the fact that if anywhere was close to exhibiting the characteristics of "the promised land," this country is it. Yet somehow we are still unable to meet the four basic needs every citizen has. Some would argue that this proposal is an extension of Socialism/communism. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Socialism/communism is a political or economic theory in which community members own all property, resources and the means of production, and control the distribution of goods. No one is suggesting the replacement of capitalism; an economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately owned and prices are chiefly determined by open competition in a free market. What is being suggested is that in this land of surplus "milk and honey," there is absolutely no reason why the four basic needs of every U.S. citizen cannot be met.

Some would argue that food stamps, thrift stores, public housing and Medicaid already meet these needs, but in the words of President John F. Kennedy, "this country is divided between those who have never had it so good and those who know we can do better." I think we can do better.

Resolved, it shall be the right of every U.S. citizen (in order to further guarantee the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness) to receive food, clothing, shelter and medical care that is adequate to meet their basic needs.



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