Comfort and Joy
The Jaundiced Eye
"We have got to stop spending if we are going to keep further dilution of the dollar from taking place. ...All of you know the extent to which I am dedicated to the whole theory of liberty and freedom and of free enterprise, and I believe that these things--we cannot have these concepts applied completely in our country unless we do stop this money spending." --Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Shortly before the downy blanket of winter is drawn up snugly over the countryside, the New York Times publishes a survey of that city's Hundred Neediest Cases. For several pages it details woeful tale after woeful tale, the plight of an "Overburdened Girl" or "Courageous Grandmother" unfolding in full tragedy.
Behind the colorless and hollow names of Hattie S., 58, Walter B., 42, and two-year-old Ellen "with auburn hair, greenish eyes, dimples and an impish smile" are shattered, hungry, confused, forsaken, and pained men, women, and infants. Their uncommon glory is to be the dregs of prosperity, the stagnant backwash of our land of freedom and liberty and forever free enterprise.
At 17, Naomi L. is breadwinner, father and mother to her brother, Julius, 10, who was born with a club foot. Naomi's father died suddenly in February of a heart attack. Her mother, Mrs. Annette L., 42, was unable to make ends meet on his small pension and Naomi took a clerking job after school to help out."
"When Betty, five months old, was brought to the agency, she was so underweight and listless that she was unable to muster a good cry even when she was hungry. Betty was found in the street by a city employee."
So it goes. Loved ones separated by death or disease, parents unable to give adequate care to their children, fathers crippled, unemployed, dying.
Reading the cases, we easily tend to be cynical and dismiss the entire thing as a maudlin attempt to cash in on our sympathy, so generous and outgoing at Christmas time. Some readers, of course, might be moved to send in a few dollars to help Mrs. Bella H., 85, obtain the guidance she needs.
The point of all this is not to criticize the public's attitude towards the Needy who suddenly appear at Christmas to prey on its pocketbook. Rather, it is to remind all of us that long after the trimming and decoration have been packed and stored away for another year, there will be so many people huddling, like Mrs. Bella H., in some dank basement apartment, waiting for their cataracts to finish the job, waiting for their hearing to go, waiting for their remaining teeth to rot away.
Fortunately for those who might care, there is a man down in Washington who has not forgotten that charity is a year-round affair. He tells us that if we vote for the right kind of men we can have a super-colossal balanced budget. And with our chrome-plated, atomic-age, whiz-bang budget safely balanced in ossified equilibrium, we can then enjoy the sweet fruits of peace, progress, and prosperity.
The Director of the Budget Bureau tells us that there will be a very significant reduction in federal expenditures next year, and I say hooray to that! States and local communities are going to take over much of the burden for providing for the Needy, and I say it's a Good Thing (although I am not quite sure where they are going to get the money from).
The villains we know. The scabs who would just as soon spit in Mrs. Bella H.'s dimming eyes as destroy this nation's chance for harmony and well-being are the fat men in blue serge suits who don't know the first principle of economics. If you spend more than you've got in the bank, poverty and God knows what else results.
So give generously to the Needy. Private enterprise and private philanthropy will go hand in hand towards a Better America. And after mailing in your check, please kneel down with all the Harry U.'s and Mrs. Yetta G.'s and the seven N. children and pray to God that the "spender-wing of the Democratic party" will never succeed in disrupting that delicate mechanism which moves us towards the glory land. God bless you and keep you, Phillip K. And be of good cheer, Mrs. Martha T. Merry Christmas, Dwight D. E.