Tikkun Olam Tuesday: 6/11/13

If you have ever subscribed to the TEDtalks Channel on YouTube then you already know how overwhelming it is to have a constant stream of interesting videos popping up in your subscription feed. It’s impossible and stressful to attempt to keep up with all the brilliant ideas on the internet, but I still try (and fail)!

I have learned so much from TEDtalks. I have been inspired and informed by these talks. However, I finally found a speech that I feel I could have given:

David R. Dow: Lessons from death row inmates

I have said most of these exact words to my husband more times than I can count. 

You thought I was a girl with a cause when you read what I had to say about Animal Testing, but the truth is this is my cause. If I knew how to make people care more about protecting children than they do about punishing criminals – how to get people to want to commit their tax dollars to interventions that spare children from becoming criminals – this is the cause that I would devote my life to solving. But I don’t know how and so today I will just re-post this TEDtalk in a small attempt to promote these thoughts.

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4 thoughts on “Tikkun Olam Tuesday: 6/11/13

  1. Thank you for posting that Tedtalk. I agree that the best case scenario is to prevent the murder in the first place, however, the idea that more tax dollars is the answer is troubling in my opinion, because tax dollars aren’t used efficiently or responsibly for any of the various reasons they’re collected. Just the recent story of taxpayer dollars routinly funding $40,000 portraits of our government officials should be proof enough of that, but of course there’s many more examples of pure, unadulterated waste.

    I remember back when Clinton enacted Welfare reform there was a mere .24 cents to every dollar taken that actually went to the welfare reciepient. So the litmus test for me is: would I personally hand my money to a charity or ministry that was going to use mere pennies of each dollar to actually do the thing I’m giving it for? I wouldn’t, but then again, I’m a self-employed business woman. But let’s say I decided that it was acceptable, do I then have the right to force everyone else to make such a poor investment of their money? But that’s what taxes do.

    For me it’s like throwing money into a barrel marked “Make a donation if you care about people” which, of course, I do care about people. But as soon as someone sets that barrel on fire, the money is consumed and no longer has the potential to help anyone. How wise is it to continue to put money into it, for it will never reach the stated goal.

    Additionally, I’ve lived long enough to see all of the various government programs that are supposed to “fix” everything, not fix it at all, and actually make things worse!

    The Welfare program, originally a “temporary” fix, has bred another group altogether where, far from being used to help people get back up on their feet and become productive, contributing members of society, reciepients call it their “paycheck” and they get “raises” by bringing another child into the world without a “nest” to nurture that child. So really, we cannot just go back to the begining of that child’s life for intervention for it goes back to his parents, and theirs.

    Just my .2 cents…

    • I think I perceived Mr. Dow’s argument differently than you did. I didn’t understand him to making the case that we pour more tax dollars into Welfare, but that we should invest more dollars (whether they be government or private) into things like Head Start and early childhood education programs. The enormous payoff for these programs has been well-established (you can refer here: http://www.nhsa.org/research/head_start_benefits).

      Unfortunately, because the benefits for these programs are mostly seen in the long-term, these are often among the first programs to be cut when programs need to be cut.

      That being said, I don’t think there is any perfect “fix,” but I do agree with Mr. Dow – as I perceived his argument – that the better choice is investing in children rather than investing in prisons.

  2. Yes, investing in children is far better than prisons!

    I didn’t say he was talking about funding welfare, I was using it as an example because I’ve heard, for so many years, how it was the “fix” and that it was poverty and poor eating that created the problem, and the way out of this was welfare. My point is that it’s actually made things worse and far more widespread. (not that there aren’t any specific positive cases)

    Since the only source of funding he mentioned was taxes, I was basing my remarks on that concept, and how at some point we need a “fix” that is broader than the government doing the job that only the parent can do.

    • I see what you’re saying.

      Yes, there are jobs that only a parent can do and no governmental “fix” will ever fill that gap. It’s a real tragedy when parents abdicate that responsibility. I think that Mr. Dow makes a compelling argument that governments pick up the tab in the form of paying for prisons in many of these cases.

      We’ll never fully solve the problem, but I agree with you that we can only hope that the steps we take move us in the right direction rather than making the problem worse!

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