I found last night's CBSNews/National Journal debate wonderful: it was civil, it was informative, the candidates were asked good questions that elucidated the audience as to positions, as well as providing more information regarding situations around the world. Many of the situations worsened in the last few years by the involvement of our current administration. You should watch it if you missed it. You can find video and transcripts here. I think the winners were Gingrich, Romney, Santorum, and Perry. In that order. Ron Paul doesn't even make any sense: how could the US have obliterated Bin Laden without having been in the region for the war?
One thing that Newt said, reiterating what he's said in the past, stuck out in my mind. He was talking about cutting the budget and mentioned having work training programs a prerequisite for getting government unenployment. What a terrific idea! I would love to see that sort of principle applied to every government entitlement! (Also mentioned by Perry and supported by Gingrich and Romney was the idea of Baseline Budgeting, another terrific idea for another day.)
Unlike our federal entitlement programs like food stamps, the LDS Church (sometimes called Mormon Church), has a welfare program based upon the principle of self-reliance. When a family or individual is in need of assistance for basic necessities and the extended family is unable or unwilling to help, the church is able to assess needs and step in, but on a condition: it is earned. The expectation is that the family or individual will provide some work or service in order to receive the food or budgetary assistance. LDS Employment Services are available to help the unemployed with acquiring needed skills, improving resumes and interviewing skills, etc. As a result, the people on church welfare are often not on it on a permanent basis. I have long thought that government welfare ought to be modeled on the same sort of principle: a principle of allowing the people using the program to better themselves instead of create dependency. Here's hoping for some reform along these lines with the next administration!