To the editor: Apparently the needy are the new villains in this country. They sponge off the system while we taxpayers support them and their children. It's awful. How dare people in this nation feel entitled to food or shelter? Don't they know that they should just choose not to be poor?

Apparently it is that simple.

I pay taxes. I work. I vote. I even sometimes write letters to the editor. I consider myself a part of this society. I benefit from this society in many ways, as we all do. The reason our society functions is because those, who can, pay into the system. Our society, in turn, provides what individuals can not provide themselves: public education, subsidized universities, roads and highways, Social Security and Medicare benefits, unemployment compensation, security and protection, parks and recreational facilities, etc. And our society also provides support to those who may need some help.

Apparently, the majority of those in this area have never had to take advantage of any government assistance. Good for them! They'll say they have "built it" all on their own, whatever "it" is. Somehow I doubt that - none of us lives in a vacuum. Most likely they benefited from the many government services I listed above. Most likely it was society that helped them "build it."

I do understand some of the frustration. I have no doubt that welfare abuse exists and there should be reforms put in place to eliminate the misuse of these programs. But the reality is that this money supports real people - children, the elderly and families.

What infuriates me most is when I hear opponents of welfare idealize being poor - suggesting they have it so much worse and the poor have it so much better. That, to me, is the epitome of elitism and arrogance. How can you so easily judge someone for doing what he morally can to survive?

Perhaps those so opposed to paying for welfare would prefer a society that just left the poor to die in the streets? Maybe they could choose who is worthy and who is not. Sounds like that is what they're already doing.

The dirty truth is we all pay for things, through taxes and fees, with which we don't agree. You may be against the $500 or so billion that supports about 1.5 million families in this country. You may feel that these individuals should be taking care of themselves, not relying on government handouts. I personally am more upset about the $100 billion or so that is given annually to wealthy corporations through subsidies and tax breaks.

If you ask me who I'd want my tax dollars to support - the mother of two children who has to decide whether to buy food or medicine or Exxon Mobil, call me old-fashioned with family values, but I am going to go with the family.

Jon Stewart so eloquently asked, "Why is it that if you take advantage of a tax break and you're a corporation you're a smart businessman, but if you take advantage of something that you need to not be hungry, you're a moocher?"

Why, indeed!

I am proud to live in a society that does not turn its back on its neighbors. Our society of today was built on the hard work and generosity of the generations that came before us. I pay into the system, and so did many of those on welfare. But at this moment in time that they need some help, I am glad help is there for them.

So many like to claim ours to be a Christian society yet blatantly disregard some of Jesus' core teachings. Jesus taught us not to judge others and to care for the poor, the sick and the elderly. Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor, for yours is the kingdom of God." You can look through the Bible, but you won't find Jesus saying, "I've got mine, you're on your own."

Nicole Faraguna