Populist Jim Hightower was quoted sometime ago in The Sun magazine as saying "Conservatives have historically seen people falling through the cracks in society and said, That's the way things work, survival of the fittest. Liberals see people falling through the cracks and say, We've got to do something about those people falling through the cracks, so we need a strong government that can provide programs and assist those people. Populists say there shouldn't be any cracks; let's fix them."
Whether the issue is education, employment, affordable housing, veteran care, or health (including mental health) care, we have to push our elected leaders to stop with the band-aid approaches and to set policy that allows every American to have good education, a decent place to live, work that supports their family's basic needs, and access to affordable health care. If we can do these things as communities, much of governmental spending for stop-gap domestic policies will decline in the long-run.
To do this though, we need to stop finger pointing and start planning. How a person ends up in desperate straits is irrelevant. The thing that matters is how we find a way to move forward.
There are some initiatives that we need government to ride herd on. If you read my post about energy policy, it is my belief that government does need step in and establish a course to address the serious affects that global climate change poses. However, with these domestic issues, it is probably good that states and localities develop solutions that work. As I note the pulling together of concerned citizens to address the aftermath of the flooding here in Iowa, I realize that this is also a way to address these day to day ongoing problems that are never addressed to the level they deserve.
So, Gov. Culver, once you get your blue ribbon panel's report about how to address the flood aftermath, challenge localities to address the social needs I've outlined. I'd be glad to volunteer.