My Best Friend

Last night my best friend and I had a mini-heated argument. You can’t really even call it an argument, but it was enough to get me thinking about how hard I am on people sometimes. You see, my best friend lost his job a couple weeks back – he also has two kids and a wife. So he went and applied for unemployment and free insurance for his children. I called it welfare, which I am fairly sure offended him and put a ding on his pride.

You see, for the past few years Mike and I have always talked about how using social programs should be an absolute last resort. We are completely against people abusing the programs and feel that government handouts should not be a permanent or long term solution. We are generally strong advocates of small and limited government (but that’s another story) so when he went straight to the unemployment office to register for government benefits I almost felt betrayed. I felt like all of the rants we had shared over the past two years were a joke!

I know what you must be thinking right now. “This guy is insane – he is upset that his friend is getting unemployment?” Well the answer is yes and no. I am upset because Mike can easily go out and get apart time job until his next full time gig starts next July. So there is really no reason what so ever for him to receive unemployment benefits! At least that is what I was thinking.

On the other hand, he did pay into the system and this could be a nice example of the system working like its supposed to – for once. A guy who has paid into the system his whole life actually getting some benefits from it? Does that really ever happen? So when I look at it like that all of my extreme feelings about government programs kind of come into perspective.

You see, I grew up in a very poor home. My parents were basically worthless and refused to keep a job out of pure laziness. They basically relied on government handouts – so the thought of others doing the same really disturbs me. I am grateful, however, that those same government handouts gave a kid like me the opportunity to make it out – so as in any program I suppose there is good and bad. Unfortunately there are those who will abuse the system: both civilian and government.

Anyways, I say all that to say this. Be moderate. Don’t be so extreme in your thinking. Politics, like anything is about balance and fully examining the situation. I eventually apologized to my friend and admitted that I was being a little hard-lined about the whole thing. Mike already has a full time job lined up and in the mean time the system is going to help him get over the hump.

While I still do NOT like government programs in general – I’ll let this one slide. Maybe I should write a very extensive article at a later date discussing why I feel this way and what the role of government really is, but I’ll save that for another day.  For now, I’ll just leave you with my humble admission of guilt – not in my thinking, but in my innate ability to be a real asshole to love ones.  I’m working on it though.

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