When Welfare Undermines Work Ethic
Michael Tanner is a fellow at the Cato Institute. He recently co-edited “Replacing Obamacare: The Cato Institute on Health Care Reform.”
UPDATED MAY 5, 2013, 7:00 PM
There is nothing to suggest that people on welfare are lazy. But there is also nothing to suggest that they are stupid. If you pay someone as much for not working as you do for working, it should come as no surprise that many take advantage of the offer.
We know that one of the most important long-term steps toward avoiding or getting out of poverty is a job. Even a low-wage job can be the first step on the road to self-sufficiency.
Around the world, welfare states provide benefits well in excess of the entry level wages that an individual with limited skills can expect to earn.
Yet, around the world, welfare states provide benefits well in excess of the entry level wages that an individual with limited skills can expect to earn. The case of “Carina,” earning $2,700 per month on welfare, is not unique, or limited to Denmark.
In the United States, a person who receives a full package of welfare benefits (T.A.N.F., food stamps, Medicaid, public housing, W.I.C. and free commodities) can receive more in every state than they would earn from a minimum wage job, according to a forthcoming Cato study.
This discourages recipients from moving from welfare to work, especially if, as the Congressional Research Service points out: “Leisure is believed to be a “normal good.” That is, with a rise in income, people will “purchase” more leisure by reducing their work effort.” In other words, an increase in benefits could encourage people to reduce their work hours.
We’ve seen this with unemployment benefits, which increase both the rate and duration of joblessness.
In the aftermath of the British riots during the summer of 2011, it was noted that “the welfare state really has left a generation of young people feeling both dependent on government handouts and entitled to more.”
Even President Obama has acknowledged, “as somebody who worked in low-income neighborhoods, I’ve seen it where people weren’t encouraged to work, weren’t encouraged to upgrade their skills, were just getting a check, and over time their motivation started to diminish.”
The welfare state may well help make poverty more comfortable, and some government programs that target literacy and educational achievement or prevent unwanted pregnancies may have a positive impact. But when it undermines the work ethic, the welfare state does little to help people rise above poverty and escape the underclass.
-FROM THE BLOGMEISTER. I have done pretty good research on this subject AND have grown up in gut-wrentching poverty, so I believe that I have a frame of reference in which to expound upon the subject of welfare vs. initiative decline. Extreme liberals and one of my family members who is constantly excusing being a total financial failure, seem to think that sociological statistics are totally wrong and refuse to even research evidence that will assuage their cognitive dissonance. Never should anyone go back to the basic animal studies that show a positive correlation between giving an animal everything that it needs to survive vs. having it forage for food. This would just prove the outcome which is denied! Basic experiments have proven that this is fact and it is now accepted as an eventual outcome that if provisions are provided for an experimental population without expectation of toil, the given population will begin to expect the provisions.
I do not vilify the welfare population as much as the supposedly civilized system that doesn’t provide socialized college education. Graduating with a huge debt over your head is pure insanity in a world where stupid knee-jerk liberal assholes want to totally fund meth addict fucktools in the medical system. Why assist these assholes to live over funding the college education of people who are busting their fucking asses to get ahead? This is liberal insanity! Assist poor struggling students to get into a market that needs them and leave drug addicts and lazy assholes to fend for themselves.
If the drug addict actually WANTS to get clean then fuck yeah! If its a court order, then defer to education, fuck the addict. Get firm tariffs on foreign goods, enact penalty laws on job exporters and get the minimum wage to a point where starving students can live on it! The minimum wage was NOT meant to raise a family on and should NOT be raised as such. People should not be encouraged to work on minimum wage to raise kids, but should be given the ability to get a college degree, an employable college degree, on it, period! The colleges and the businesses should be working in tandem to assist graduates to transition into the workforce as legitimate wage earners with the ability to work their way up the ladder.
The system is broken and in favor of the 1% who rape the shit out of us on a regular basis. There are restraints that we should be putting on our Supreme Court and upon capitalism itself. We are being a host nation to a vampire 1% that will suck us into a husk and leave us as a trivial nation on the field of their conquests. We are asleep at the switch and feel lucky to have the scraps from ‘Longshanks’ table, and we villify the person who got fucked in the recession or who works at Starbucks with his pHD. This is truly fucked! As in Captain America 2, Rodgers found that his own government was the villain in the whole scheme. Is government to be trusted or reviled? Do we just accept that its every person for themselves and say to Hell with community effort? Government was created by the people to prevent this, do we just give up and blindly vilify a system that we put in place to protect us or do we prosecute it’s villains and replace them with trustworthy people? WTF folks, really? You created this monster and now you want to oppose it and act like you didn’t help create it? Get in the fight you milquetoast assholes and take back your own creation, take back your rights and stop marginalizing the very poor that you yourself created by apathy!!
In my various travels, I have rarely encountered a true skeptic that held to any particular religion. I have known those who carefully weigh issues and facts, but not exercised true measures of skeptical thinking in everyday matters. Many professed religious people use degrees of critical thought and questioning, but are not actually devout in beliefs and are sort of half-assed about the whole matter. My assessment of the subject is that down deep these folks actually don’t believe in the crazy batshittery of talking snakes and holy zombies, they are just adhering to the early indoctrination of their childhood. My experience with true skeptics is that you actually can’t believe in obvious bullshit and be considered skeptical. Maybe you have degrees of skepticality, but will exercise cognitive dissonance when the ball rolls into the religious court. The truth of the matter is is that belief in talking animals, corporeal gods on Earth, and walking on water is a willful suspension of critical thinking and common sense.
My personal favorites are the complete imbeciles that know that the bible is complete bullshit, but fall back on the ‘its just parables, a guideline to live by,’ crap, ignoring that if this shit is true, then Adam and Eve are parables and Original Sin is complete schtakko. If this is the case, then that nullifies the need for salvation and a savior to be nailed to the cross after having the shit beaten out of Him in the name of Himself! Let’s forget about the fact that He is Jesus and Jesus is Him and that He prays to Himself like a schizophrenic off of His fucking meds, THAT shit is downright off the effing hook in and of itself, but far be it from the faithful to see this obvious fact because they already believe in something that has absolutely NO basis in reality!
The asshole, Bill O’Reilly is one of these idiots who invalidates his own religion by being a non-believer in the word of his Almighty God! Parables, these shitbirds say! I have never heard such a wishy-washy bunch of sissified nonsense in my entire life! These aren’t believers, these are people who cling to being homophobic, close-minded assholes just for the fuck of it! If they really adhered to the faith, then they have to believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, genocide, rape, mass murder and all! None of this cherry picking shit! If you don’t actually believe, then don’t try to lie your slimy asses out of it, just admit that you were incapable of true honesty and that you don’t actually believe in talking snakes and other batshittery!
I was frequently told as a child to not over think things, to trust in God and not to always try to rationalize why that shit seemed so fucking crazy to me even as a 12 year old kid. The constant admonishing to stay ignorant permeated religious people around me as I grew up, and followed me into young adulthood. The more questions that were asked, the more the heads of the faith tried to conjure answers based in no evidence or sensibility whatsoever. In the Reagan 80’s, a new approach appeared on the scene in which progressive ‘its cool to be a Christian’ youth ministers started to ‘encourage’ questioning saying that God WANTED His followers to be inquisitive. What this approach actually was was a creation of circular arguments that were designed to baffle with bullshit while giving the impression that questions had actually been answered! The only thing that happened during these exercises in futility, was that those with a very limited scientific background became satisfied that their pastors actually knew what they were peddling. The truth of the matter was that there was no science involved in the explanations and the language of fire and damnation was finally euphemized to dummy down the goddamned crazy talk.
The reality of these matters is that innocent children still die of cancer, starvation, cruel acts of child abuse and an all powerful deity continues to sit on His hands and remain silent! Basketball and football teams still continue to win games according to those that pray for a win. Super rich celebrities continue to thank God for their good fortune while people are raped and murdered in Sudan and the Congo, but the God of Abraham continues to demand supplication from poor hapless assholes to ignorant to stand on their own without the crutch of religion.
A very wise person once told me that 90% of living people are followers, and 10% are forward thinkers, the 90% just drag the 10% down. Now of that 10%, only about less than 5% are true born leaders. Leaders are few and far between, just look at the political landscape here in Murcuh, as Dudya was so fond of calling it. We give legacy kids and scumbag Chicago lawyers the reins of the country and just let them sell us out! Great leadership! The common denominator is how far you go to hand over our country to special interest.
These assholes are experts, and before you rush to the keyboard to write about doing something about it instead of bitching, I already do, in the form of blogging it out there, raising awareness, voting, signing petitions, donating money, writing Congress, you name it! I get shit ALL the time from armchair quarterbacks who get pissed because they feel inadequate in the light of activism! Hell, I’m about ready to launch a video podcast to increase activism and awareness, what else can a person do? I would say better than my fair share and proud to do it! Going against the common thought and promoting critical skeptical thinking is immense in its own right! I implore EVERYONE to question EVERYTHING that anyone tries to pass off as absolute truth, because the more that you question, the greater your skeptical thought process grows. Very few people think skeptically, they are too busy entrenched in their own thoughts and worldview. Changing requires pliability, forward thinking, introspect and true self awareness, things that most people definitely do not possess. I am guilty of closing my mind as well, but I am also actively trying to open it as wide as possible. The more open that you are to change the quicker you advance intellectually! I strive for greater knowledge and reach beyond my limited borders every single day to grasp a better understanding of everything for the benefit of my people and my world. It starts in small places and spreads once the seeds take hold.
Ridding the world of the sand pits that people plug with their heads is one of the most important things that one can do, and religion is one of these pits. Regardless of the small good that it does, the adherence to religious practice fosters bigotry, scientific ignorance and personal shame over just being human. People were NOT born in sin, and do fucking NOT need to accept a 2.000 year old zombie as their personal savior to gain self worth! This is the most patently ridiculous bullshit that any psychotic entity could try to pass off! As I mentioned above, most Christians don’t even read, adhere or believe in their own Bible, so why should anyone take them seriously? Scientists have to run their research through rigorous tests and peer review before publishing, well even MENTIONING results, why don’t Christian have to know the very manual that they are supposed to live their lives by? Most Christians that I have spoken too can only quote the most popular passages of the Bible and wither under my knowledge of it, why? Because I, the atheist, have actually READ the goddamned thing cover to amoral cover and know its contents!
My summary is quite simple. Lose your Bible and start questioning everything going on around you. Don’t be paranoid, just skeptical. Leave behind Fox News and CNN and start searching the internet for cross references to important news stories, why? The absence of reporters means that the news is not driven by parlor tricks and theatrics. It still needs vetting, but if you go to multiple sites, then you can start to correlate facts. This is just one example of encouraging skepticality. Religion doesn’t allow this because it usually leads to the debunking of the fantastic paranormal claims of its doctrine. There is no evidence in religion, that is the problem. Also, do a simple Google search to obtain the vast list of transitions species. Most people make false claims based only on the admonition of apologists who generally state that Evolution is a lie due to a lack of these fossils, ( that can easily be found……). Remember that ignorance involves the willful suspension of skeptical, critical thinking. Question fantastic claims and forget about the afterlife! You only have one life, and if you waste it trying to obtain a divine death, then you have missed out on everything. We atheists live for now because their IS no doing it over, or living forever in an unprovable heaven. We don’t do good because a magical man in the sky is judging us, we do good because it is the right thing to do and morality is innate, no given by some imaginary god. So get out there and live your life and try to change the world for the better based upon scientific truth. Peace be unto you, Allllalalalalalalasalamimallleekhum my brothers and sisters!
Matt yet again, demolishes a theist idiot!
The video does not follow the debate content between Alex Botten and Sye Ten Bruggencate, but the audio is incredible in that it shows how sheeple are convinced by the smoke and mirror parlor tricks of Bruggencate. This person asks the question, “How do you know,” so many times in irrelevancy that I cannot count! Circuitous argument is how debaters trick sheep into believing their bullshit arguments. 25 min in the only proof that Bruggencate cites is the most unprovable document produced, the Christian Bible!
One of the persistent criticisms of the so-called New Atheists — Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, et al. — is that many of their arguments, although directed against religious belief in general, are really relevant only for fundamentalists. Sure, if you interpret the Bible literally, God comes across as a homicidal, genocidal, misogynistic monster, but this crude understanding of scripture is held only by ignorant believers, who, at most, constitute a substantial minority of the faithful. Therefore, the New Atheists present a distorted view of religion and show little understanding of the mindset of “moderate” religionists. The moderate religionists do not believe the Bible provides us with a literally true history of ancient times, nor do they regard the Bible, in particular the Old Testament, as providing an accurate conception of God and God’s relationship to humanity.
Mmm, OK. Well, now there’s the perfect opportunity for all those moderate religious leaders, including presumably Pope “Who am I to judge?” Francis, to publicize their rejection of the simplistic, literal interpretation of scripture. They can discuss the story of Noah and God’s destruction of the world by flood, and in doing so they can repudiate the depiction of God that’s set forth in this story.
The recently released film Noah, starring, among others, Russell Crowe, is being marketed aggressively and is receiving wide publicity. Millions of people will be watching it across the world. Although the film deviates from the biblical version in some details, the key parts of the story are represented just as they are related in Genesis: God kills most humans and (non-marine) animals by causing them to drown. He does so because he is angered by the wickedness of most humans. Noah, his immediate family, and representatives of the various animal species are spared. In their publicity, the makers of the film assure us that they have tried to stay true to the values of a story that is a “cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide.” Having seen the movie, I think the filmmakers have stayed true to those values. It is also undoubtedly true that the Noah story, with its accompanying values, is a “cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide.” The problem is these values are morally repugnant.
Let’s not mince words: if the story of the Flood is to be believed, God is a moral monster. To say his response to the alleged wickedness of humans is disproportionate is a gross understatement. Moreover, God engages in conduct that we would expect from the worst dictators, namely collective punishment that sweeps in the innocent along with the guilty. Children, presumably, were among those drowned (unless we assume that wicked adults had no offspring) as were most all of the animals, who bore no responsibility whatsoever for the misdeeds of humans. Intentionally drowning a kitten is conduct we’d expect of some psychopathic juvenile, not a loving deity.
For those who accept the truth of scripture, the “lessons” of Noah are that violence and destruction are perfectly acceptable means of addressing problems, human rights (let alone animal rights) are an illusion, and power is ultimately what counts. God could destroy humanity and all animal life because — well, who’s going to try to stop him?
Anyway, now that Noah is on the minds of many, it’s an opportune time for all those moderate religious leaders to set the record straight. Indeed, one would think these religious leaders would feel obliged to repudiate the literal interpretation of the biblical story, lest the faithful misapprehend the true nature of God. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing for the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury and other respected leaders to issue a joint statement declaring the Noah story to be a pernicious fable, not to be taken seriously by believers today? This would be morally edifying, and, of course, would put those coarse New Atheists in their place.
But we know this is not going to happen. Of course, there are many religious people, including some religious leaders, who do not interpret scripture literally. They don’t believe that Adam and Eve were the first humans, that God expelled us from Eden, that God destroyed the world by flood, that Noah built an ark that somehow housed representatives of all the animal species, and so on. They do not accept the Bronze Age myths found in the Bible. However, unless they are leaders of denominations which have expressly moved away from reliance on scripture (e.g., the Unitarians) religious leaders generally keep quiet about their skepticism. Because the dirty little secret of moderate religious leaders is that their authority ultimately depends on the continued loyalty of the naïve believer, that is, the person who does accept these Bible stories more or less at face value, and it would not be prudent to have these believers begin to doubt scripture. Once one begins to cast doubt on the veracity of biblical accounts, it’s hard to know where to draw the line. It’s one thing to be skeptical of the Noah story, but Moses? And what of Jesus and the Resurrection? And what happens when believers stop relying on holy writ entirely and actually use reasons and facts to come to an understanding of their world and their moral obligations? Without the authority of scripture to legitimize their positions, religious leaders are out of business.
So best keep silent about some of the absurdities and embarrassments in the Bible. Oh, you can have some learned theologians write essays criticizing the New Atheists for their unsophisticated understanding of religion, waxing eloquent about how the Bible is only metaphor, and how God is not a personal deity but the ground of all Being, but for the ordinary believer, mum’s the word. Shh! It’s movie time. Pass the popcorn — and the collection plate.
-As a ‘New Atheist’ I believe that if cherry-picking the Bible is in order then people need to invent a new god. This current mythology doesn’t seem to work for the PC masses of today. They find the genocidal rages, the misogyny, the support of slavery and the call for believers to commit murder kind of distasteful to their current beliefs.