There will always be people in any society who, through no fault of their own, cannot provide for themselves. There will always be those who fall on hard times and need some assistance getting back on their feet. That is a need that a civilized society must address.

What a civilized society must not do is place barriers in the way of those trying to improve their lot in life. Unfortunately, entitlement programs meant to aid the less fortunate provide no way out of poverty. Instead, they turn public assistance programs into the family business.

It would be far more productive to provide folks in need with the necessary tools to become productive members of society. Apprenticeships, affordable further education, childcare and good paying jobs would be a good start.

Make state colleges an option for every child in America without burying them in debt. Lacking hope, children become vulnerable. Self-medication becomes a means of escape from their reality. Gangs and terrorist groups welcome them with open arms.

It is time for the United States of America to stop being a welfare country and make this the land of opportunity our forefathers had in mind.

Entitlement programs assume that those in poverty must stay there. For some, that may very well be the case. But, the great majority living on public assistance would much rather have the ability to make their own choices in life. All they need to achieve the American Dream is an opportunity to do so.

Catherine Ferrell, Greene

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