December 3, 2012

“When Work Is Punished: The Tragedy Of America’s Welfare State”

Been meaning to post this here but never got around to it until now.  Forgive me if you’ve already seen it, pored over it, and thrown up a little in your mouths because of it.  Zerohedge:

Exactly two years ago, some of the more politically biased progressive media outlets (who are quite adept at creating and taking down their own strawmen arguments, if not quite as adept at using an abacus, let alone a calculator) took offense at our article “In Entitlement America, The Head Of A Household Of Four Making Minimum Wage Has More Disposable Income Than A Family Making $60,000 A Year.” In it we merely explained what has become the painful reality in America: for increasingly more it is now more lucrative – in the form of actual disposable income – to sit, do nothing, and collect various welfare entitlements, than to work. This is graphically, and very painfully confirmed, in the below chart from Gary Alexander, Secretary of Public Welfare, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (a state best known for its broke capital Harrisburg). As quantitied, and explained by Alexander, “the single mom is better off earnings gross income of $29,000 with $57,327 in net income & benefits than to earn gross income of $69,000 with net income and benefits of $57,045.


We realize that this is a painful topic in a country in which the issue of welfare benefits, and cutting (or not) the spending side of the fiscal cliff, have become the two most sensitive social topics. Alas, none of that changes the matrix of incentives for most Americans who find themselves in a comparable situation: either being on the left side of minimum US wage, and relying on benefits, or move to the right side at far greater personal investment of work, and energy, and… have the same disposable income at the end of the day. It explains why the cluelessly incompetent but supposedly impartial Congressional Budget Office just released a key paper titled “Share of Returns Filed by Low- and Moderate-Income Workers, by Marginal Tax Rate, Under 2012 Law” which carries a chart of disposable income by net income […]

As everyone who’s been paying any attention to what the New Left and transnational progressivism has in store for us, these kinds of disincentives to industriousness and independence, and the corresponding incentives for governmental dependency through subsidy and wealth redistribution, is the key to securing a permanent political plurality — allowing them to reshape the trajectory of government away from individual liberty and state sovereignty and toward a centralized, permanent ruling bureaucracy that plans, controls, and micromanages every aspect of our lives.

And yet whenever I post information like this to, say, facebook, where my liberal friends congregate like hives of bees and buzz about income disparity, suddenly all goes silent.  At least for a few days. Until they’re back with the next bit of Marxist-populist class warfare propaganda — which each of them to a man or woman utters unironically from their position at or near the “1%”.

Contemporary liberalism is largely a status marker; and many of those who promote it by rote — railing against the godbothering oppression of the right — are incapable of the kind of critical self-examination that would reveal to them that it is they who are promoting tyranny and signing on to a program of liberal fascism and, ultimately, the overthrow of the capitalist system that has provided them the very freedoms and liberties to adopt leftist postures and promote governmental theft from positions of comfort.

It truly is sad.

Be that as it may, I have no more time for sympathy.  These people are useful idiots who have been told their entire lives that, having adopted a certain political stance, they are on the side of hipness, or cultural relevancy, of free thinking.  And they’ve bought it — ignoring every soda ban or restrictions on light bulbs and shower heads and toilets and on and on and on, all so they can protect their own self-image, and bracket out their complicity in the slow and painful overthrow of the American Experiment.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 9:18am

Comments (7)

  1. …many of those who promote [contemporary liberalism] by rote…are incapable of the kind of critical self-examination that would reveal to them that it is they who are promoting tyranny…

    I have even less sympathy than you, I suppose. Because I believe these useful tools aren’t unable to examine their beliefs critically — they’re just unwilling to. Having been brought up from childhood to believe that they are Good People who help the less fortunate and promote rainbows and puppies, they just can’t handle the cognitive dissonance that occurs when they are forced to confront the actual consequences of their “goodness.”

    I was part of the cult in my youth, and it was difficult enough coming to grips with the realization (sometime in my late 20s) that the policies I supported were terribly ineffective at addressing the issues they were targeted for. It was even more painful to realize that many of these policies were responsible for exacerbating the problems they were supposed to fix.

    I survived. I doubt that any well-meaning leftist will actually die of a cerebral hemorrhage if forced to confront their participation in an evil ideology. I’m willing to test this hypothesis.

  2. b…bu…but… democracy, Jeff, it lives

  3. I have the same experience on Facebook – I post political stuff mostly- just the occasional blurb or stat, like this, and there’s silence from the few leftists with whom I can tolerate being facebook friends. Their posts during the election were all “Birth control this” and “Abortion that” and the few times I’d actually challenge them to address real issues, like the economy, entitlements, the wellfare state, etc, they tended to dismiss such concerns as “fearmongering”. For alot of the, I assume because the questions about what to do are hard and if you’re more concerned with gay marriage or Fluke’s birth control then you are tax increases and Obamacare, why even think about solutions. “Somebody else” will solve the problem and they can go on living in their little bubble in which social justice and abortion are the most important things in the universe.

  4. It was even more painful to realize that many of these policies were responsible for exacerbating the problems they were supposed to fix.”

    In the wider, more general political context, what we have is the replacement of the intent of the “establish justice” of the Preamble with the execution of injustice in the name of an anomalous ‘social justice’. It’s brutal, and therefore hardly ever said.

  5. “The Head Of A Household Of Four Making Minimum Wage Has More Disposable Income Than A Family Making $60,000 A Year.”

    Kinda explains why I see people on Section 8 rent subsidies driving new Cadillac Escalades to Best Buy to pick up their 50″ flat panel TVs while texting on their iPhones.

    Well, I can’t say I’ve actually seen that exact scenario, but I have met lots of people (yes, lots, no lie) in the course of my job who have all those things and live mostly on public assistance. I can’t afford an iPhone, and both my car and my TV are close to 20 years old – and I don’t qualify for any sort of government assistance, even “Earned Income Credit”.

    I guess I’m a sucker for struggling to stay afloat.

  6. “. . . I’m a sucker . . .”

    If Newsweek were to run a cover page headline intent on getting at the truth, it might read “We’re All Suckers Now“, since after all, that’s the point of socialisms.

  7. You obviously need a babydaddy, Norman. Then you can live in a subsidized apartment and collect every kind of welfare, while your boyfriend provides the satellite TV and the iPhone and the nice shoes with his income that you never report to your case worker (who wouldn’t record it even if he found out).

    I ride the bus with some of these folks, and I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to be stuck in front of one of them as she bitches on her iPhone to her friends about how standing in line at the welfare office left her no time to get her hair and nails done.