The people of Maine are being told the expansion of MaineCare for the purpose of accessing funding from the Affordable Care Act will create a culture of dependency, thus forming, for the poor, roadblocks on the way to economic self-sufficiency.

This is the same reasoning used by the British to withhold famine relief from the Irish during the potato famine in the 19th century. Millions starved, but at least they were not dependent.

Should people receiving inherited wealth be spared the same risk of dependency with which the poor must deal? Is withholding medical treatment to protect recipients from a culture of dependency done for the good of the poor or to keep dollars in the pockets of taxpayers? Is the reduced tax on income from capital gains also an invitation to sloth and loss of self-respect?

Take a look at Timothy Egan’s column in the March 16 New York Times titled “Paul Ryan’s Irish Amnesia” for its insightful look at Ryan’s Irish ancestry without Ryan’s acknowledging the historical rebuttal to his fear of creating a culture of dependence.

When we distinguish effects of unearned benefits by referencing a person’s economic status, we engage in class-based illogic that conveniently allows those who have to protect what they have been given. Such reasoning pretends to a social philosophy but is really fear and greed, wearing a suit jacket and a bow tie.

Kathleen McKay and Jonathan RogersBenton