Recently, I watched The Dark Knight Rises with my family. I thought it was an excellent movie that kept me on the edge of my seat. Of course, I always look for the political implications writer-director Christopher Nolan may put in his movies. Here is a connection that I read this morning.
Although there are a number of political connections in the movie, my favorite one is the one where Bruce Wayne continues to fall down into the prison until he decides not to use the rope as a harness for support.
This reminded me of the crutch that many Americans use from welfare programs that reduce their incentive to rise up and fulfill their destiny with their God-given abilities. There are certainly those that are not capable of taking care of themselves and resources should be provided to those individuals.
My dad was one of those people. He had epilepsy after a drunk driver crashed into the truck he was riding in before a high school football game. At the time, he was valedictorian and a starting football player, however, his severe head injury from the wreck caused him to have memory problems, and he was unable to finish college at Sam Houston State University. He went on to work numerous jobs as a drafter for several years before his seizures increased in frequency and strength. He fought as long as he could before he decided to file for disability and receive Social Security benefits. My father passed away suddenly last year and very few times during his life did he complain about being disabled. He would have rather been working and earning a paycheck instead of relying on the government. He was the bravest man I have ever known and is why we put "Hero" on his marker.
In my opinion, there are those who need support and charities, churches, and other private groups would better provide it because they have incentives to be accountable, transparent, and effective or risk losing funds. None of these essentials of economic efficiency is currently in our welfare system because there is no incentive for bureaucrats to implement these essentials.
The more individuals that rely on the government—like the rope Bruce used as a crutch to get out of the hole -- the more we will be unable to increase productivity and achieve prosperity (Bruce reaching the top of the hole without the rope). There are some in our great nation who truly need financial support—my dad was one of them -- but the more dependent we become on the government, fewer dollars will be available for those who really need.
Instead of helping millions of Americans on government programs, many of these individuals are being hurt along the way. Without the courage to take risks and experience success and failure, will we ever learn to live on our own and prosper?
My dad would have worked every day of his life if he could. It frustrates me when able-bodied people abuse the government's programs and the government does nothing about it. This is another clear example that reforms are necessary for the sustainability of our fiscal situation, and more importantly, the livelihood of Americans.
The Dark Knight Rises definitely had my blood flowing from the suspense and action in the movie. The movie also made me think about how much better off we would be if we took many welfare recipients off the ropes that are strangling those on government support.
I care for all Americans, and believe that the neediest should receive support, but the government is riddled with problems in providing this support. Therefore, we are incentivizing people to be on welfare programs, redistributing money from those who are more productive, and leaving fewer funds for those who actually need it.
Instead of Batman and Robin, an unlikely duo of President Clinton and U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich achieved welfare reform in the 1990s. We should advocate reform once again.