Commentary: Still work to do on welfare reform

This editorial appeared in The Macon Telegraph.

Remember a few years back when welfare reform was the topic of the moment? The prevailing (and not altogether inaccurate) sentiment was that a deterioration of "personal responsibility" had led to creation of a "welfare state" in which expensive "social programs" had replaced the ethic of earning and opportunity with an "entitlement mentality."

If anything has now become manifestly clear, it's that such pathologies are not limited to those at the bottom of the American economic pyramid.

The infuriating but largely metaphorical spectacle of auto execs striding onto Capitol Hill from separate corporate jets looks relatively trivial next to the latest jaw-dropper — financial institutions blithely refusing to say what they're doing, have done or intend to do with billions of taxpayer dollars.

Imagine, if you will, going into a bank for a loan — which, you might have noticed, is substantially harder to get these days. When the loan officer asks what you need the money for, you reply that you're "not choosing to disclose that." Or maybe that you're "declining" to provide "dollar-in, dollar out tracking" of what you intend to do with the bank's money, and that you're just "not sharing any other details" right now.

Said bank would have every right, not to mention good reason, to tell you to take a hike.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Macon Telegraph.

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