In the span of over 120 years similar issues continue to vex the peoples representatives elected to office. Witness the the current situation of government attempts/programs to provide/throw money at specific issues and compare this to the past. I think most agree that throwing money at a problem is not conducive to solving the problem itself.
This is not intended to be an unsympathetic view for those going through any terrible situation, but more a discussion on the limits of power those elected to office actually have.
By providing government bail-outs to every emergency does this solve anything, or does this just kick-the-can down the road for others to find a more permanent solution? Or, to get the issue past short-term memory?
The ability to discern where responsibility lies and the perceived need for the government to support the people. Many similarities exist between today and in 1884.
By Col. Davy Crockett
One day in the House of Representatives, a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support. The Speaker was just about to put the question when Crockett arose:
"Mr. Speaker --- I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the suffering of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this house, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I have never heard that the government was in arrears to him."