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Fuller Sheldon, Mapleton, N.D., Published February 21 2014

Letter: Meaningful work the only solution

Unbelievable, yet so predictable: Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., has no sooner assumed office than she proposes spending more of someone else’s money to purportedly discover the reasons for the situation in which American Indians, particularly children, are found, and then with even more money dumped into the abyss, apply some high-sounding professional corrective measures. Meanwhile, the president, under whose banner she marches, proposes subsidizing insurance premiums, enabling some marginally motivated folks to quit their jobs and pursue their dreams full-time – writing poetry or sculpting or maybe even cooking dinner for the family.

Want to see how this might work? Just take a long and loving look at the reservation situation right now. There’s not much cultural advancement or socially redeemable output in return for the very considerable investment already being made there. There’s no pressure to work, be responsible, pay one’s own bills, produce product, create a job, make a payroll or any of the other stuff Nancy Pelosi says would arise once the onus of “work” was removed. Psychology says meaningful work is a major source of mental health and happiness.

Any effort to remove honest effort and its attending rewards from daily experience is either ignorantly short-sighted or outright malicious. Either way, it’s counterproductive. Anyone attracted to these latest suggestions from the administration should seriously consider how he’d keep what’s already happened to the Native community from infecting everyone receiving something for nothing.