Dear Editor:

After listening to the debate on the health care bill it was obvious that the country's founding principals were being challenged in a very fundamental way. President Obama met with Democrat colleagues' to encourage them to vote in favor of the bill. In that address he asked them why they became Democrats instead of Republicans. His rhetorical answer was "that you believe in helping the less fortunate and not leaving them on their own." While this statement seems like a noble one, you have to examine who is helping who and who is really getting hurt.

The political attacks that are launched toward conservatives accusing them of wanting to leave people to deal with their pathetic situations alone or wanting children to die just because they have irresponsible parents could not be further from the truth. Another accusation is Conservatives (Republicans) are in the pocket of "Big Business." Let us for the moment drop all these false and meaningless attacks and assume that both sides want to help people, who truly need help, and see how the different approaches affect the society as a whole.

The simple truth is along with freedom comes responsibility. When the USSR collapsed and Russia tried its hand a Capitalism, they had a very difficult time. Why? For 70 years the good citizens of the Soviet Union were told as a society, that they had a right to housing, jobs, security, health care and food. That means the government had to provide all these things because it was a right. The society becomes lethargic and non productive. There was no sense of urgency and when faced with having the freedom to make decisions on their own the people were paralyzed. There was no charitable giving from the people of the old Soviet Union because they were taught the State would take care of all that. Along with ruining the productive fabric that is born in every one of us, the Soviets also did not tolerate the belief in God or any form of worship, other than the State of course. In order to control their population they had to close the borders, not from people coming in but from people leaving. So the elements of a communist system is one of captivity, atheism, and a trust that the government will supply all.

Capitalism, however, in contrast with communism, requires freedom, and belief in a power much higher than man as well as a life after death. This is what makes America exceptional and why the world wants to come here. America never had the problem of people leaving, they have the problem of too many people wanting to come here. Conservatives believe that human nature (selfish nature) can be used for the greater good in rewarding accomplishment and effort. We in America, for the moment, enjoy the best standard of living in the world. Our founding fathers' vision was that the greater the effort the bigger the reward. The glue that holds the Capitalist human nature from over powering the less fortunate, like individuals who through no fault of their own are disadvantages, is the Judeo-Christian value system that has been a part of the country since its inception. The very statement by Obama of why the Senators and Reps became Democrats is insight into how he views the role of individuals and the role of government. Progressives believe that human nature like their own, will always do the wrong thing and tramp on those who cannot help themselves. However, the irony in the progressive fix is that by having the government assume the role of social equalizer, they have assumed the very role that Christian teachings promote. The rest of the socialist world relies on the governments to provide aid to the Haiti's of the world or their own citizenry. The USA is the most giving nation on earth but not by accident. Our constitution gives us the freedom to be selfish individuals but our Judeo-Christian values urge us in a compassionate direction. We do this as a people NOT because the government takes our money and gives it to those who they determine are needy, but rather, we as individuals determine who needs help or what religious agency most efficiently carries out the charge of their charity. This is why the charitable deduction on your tax return is not encumbered by the many limitations of other deductions.

The Obama administration fundamentally disagrees in the freedom to be benevolent. They floated a trial balloon to remove the charitable giving from this exalted status, in my opinion, to attempt to change the way Americans view their obligation to each other. Progressives believe the government should collect the money from you and they will be the keepers of the less fortunate. Unfortunately that breeds people who truly don't care about other people because they don't have to. Their government does that for them.

Generally speaking, if you would examine immigrants' tax returns who came to America from Eastern Europe or Asia, their charitable giving is far less than Americans of equal means. When our sanctimonious politicians who espouse socialism made their personal tax returns available, take some time and look at their Schedule A for their charitable giving. You can see that the most conservative and the most religious individuals are by far the biggest givers. Now who is truly selfish? There is a difference between ambition, greed and selfishness. If you are driven to achieve more and more and in turn give more and more, this is not so bad. The problem is when the government, who by definition has no value system, becomes the care giver, the people providing the money for the government become jaded and loose their God given need to give. The government then imposes penalties for taxpayers failure to do what they once did voluntarily. This is the prelude to a "Government has all the answers" mentality which is absolutely the antithesis of what the founding fathers wanted.

I always tell my children that there are two kinds of people in this world; "Producers and Users." Never become a user because when the users outnumber the producers the end is near. Progressives have two fundamental problems. One is that they do not learn from history and the other is they don't understand human nature.

Larry Wittig,

Concerned Citizen

Tamaqua