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“Poverty” pays better than middle-class employment

Home - by - December 3, 2012 - 14:00 America/New_York - 4 Comments

Human Events

I have long maintained that the critical problem with the American welfare state is not “makers vs. takers,” but rather makers who are also takers.  A prosperous free society can afford safety-net programs for the truly impoverished, and the citizens of such a society are going to insist on funding one.  The great danger of the classic welfare model is that the “safety net becomes a hammock,” by eroding the work ethic of those who spend generations within it.  This can inflict horrendous damage on the lower echelons of society – look at what happened to the supposed beneficiaries of the Great Society – but the rest of the national economic structure can survive it.  The political will to reform bloated and corrupt welfare programs can still be marshaled.

An out-of-control classical welfare state can cost a lot of money, and it can mess up poor families for generations, but it’s still fairly distinct from the rest of society.  And it should be, for both practical and moral reasons.  We can all agree that the only “happy ending” for any given welfare recipient is a return to the productive middle class, right?  Even the vast majority of liberal American voters would say that’s the desired outcome.

But classical welfarism has mutated into something far more insidious and dangerous.  It is the great project of the organized political Left to destroy the “middle class” they pretend to venerate, by infecting it with government dependency.



  1. NCO77

    December 3rd, 2012

    I’ve had a thought for a long time and I’d love hearing some thoughts from the crew here at IOTW.

    I see the problem with the current system as an all or nothing problem. If someone is on welfare, and they get a job, they actually drop their standard of living – sometimes by quite a bit. I believe there should be graduated welfare.

    If a person is making $500 a week on total welfare benefits, and they get a job making $300, it doesn’t make sense for them to go to work. But if they were able to keep $250 a week of the welfare, they they actually see an increase in their standard of living. If they stick with the job and get a raise, the amount of welfare would be reduced, but would still show them improving.
    This would remain the system for them until they were making enough without any assistance to be completely “whole”.

    I know we’d all like to see people off welfare completely, but I think this approach could make it easier to reach that goal.

    Just my two cents.

    Thumb up +1

  2. Stirrin the B.S.

    December 3rd, 2012

    This is one of the best articles that I’ve read on the welfare entitlement state and the destruction of the middle class. It covers it all. This should be required reading for every high school freshman, and then re-visted again their senior year.

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  3. bob

    December 3rd, 2012

    It’s obviously a problem with no simple solution. I recall when Bill Clinton instituted welfare reform, and the inherent dignity of working for a living was one of the things he used to promote the changes.

    Now, the democrats want to increase the number of people receiving benefits, they are actually spending money to promote foodstamps, and spending money to promote US Foodstamps IN MEXICO, so that they have a permanent voter base to remain in power.

    The republocrats won’t have the clout to make changes, and are terrified of being labeled insensitive by pointing out the unsustainable entitlement culture.

    I tell you what, how many (traditional) middle class people out there are getting mighty tired? How many are looking at the facts in this article, seeing the soft, warm cozy cushion of the safety hammock, calling to them…

    “come on in, rest. Take it easy. Let ol’ uncle sam take care of you. You deserve it. It’s ok. It isn’t your fault. We got your back.

    Thumb up +3

  4. Alpha Maser

    December 3rd, 2012

    Sad but true… I know people that help other people scam the system — I would report them, but they’re in my immediate family… We need a wake up calling in this country like truckers or farmers going Galt, only that would hasten collectivization of agriculture…

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