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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Here’s a Challenge

Category: Issue 8, Mind Change Winners

A friend of mine (Brian Gladish) and I were discussing social problems.  “If…” (Ok, he said if, but I don’t think it’s necessary - let’s just assume that…) the reality for a welfare mother is that her expenses are $800, welfare pays her $1000 and a job would pay her the same but cost her $400 in day care.  I suggested that it would be easy to convince her that taxation is bad.  I’ve set myself up to convince someone that getting $200 less than their expenses would be better.  How can I do this?  Here are the arguments I would give her:

Are there some things that are good for you and your kids, but they’re just not worth it?  This job that requires you to pay for daycare is a perfect example.  It isn’t worth it, right? Because with welfare, you don’t have to pay for daycare.  But what about your skills - won’t the job help you improve them?  What kind of a job is this?  You’re smart - Hell, you’re raising kids and retaining most of your sanity.  Of course you’d get better at whatever the job requires of you.  You’d eventually earn more than that $200 you’ll be missing.  But it isn’t worth it as long as you’re getting welfare, is it?

Do you attend a church?  Do you have family or any friends that have offered to help?  Do you feel that accepting their help lowers your dignity?  Don’t ignore that little voice: of course it is less dignified to live on the dole than to accept help from those who love you.  When people you know provide you with really valuable help, does it improve your relationship with them?  Appreciation is an essential component of love.

Maybe your family and freinds don’t offer to help you at all.  Because of welfare support, we expect the government to take care of you.  This has an effect on me, and I bet it also affects others who are interested in helping you.  The fact that there’s a official system out there to take care of you gets us all off the hook.  I think that might be why it was created in the first place.  We don’t have to care for each other any more because we made this system through which we can deal with you as impersonally as we want.  I think that makes it easier for us all, but is the ease worth it?  Is ease the thing makes us healthy and fit, able to accomplish our personal goals and help our kids grow up to be happy?

And what about your kids?  They look up to you, and they’re going to try to be just like you.  Do you want them to follow in these footsteps laid down for you by the welfare system?  Consider the lessons of life that they’re learning.  If you show them how to face the struggle and overcome your poverty, they’ll be there for you in your old age, and, moreover, they’ll have the resources and the desire to care for you.

Back to Voting

Old Comments

  • Seems to me you’re just at the tip of the iceberg. Any individual can justify accepting any amount of government assistance because (1)the government is so ridiculously wasteful, and (2) the government doesn’t provide free college education which would enable everyone to readily provide for themselves.

    E.g., hasn’t corporate welfare always greatly outdistanced individual welfare? Subsidized industry would die laughing if you offered them a $1000/month.

    I agree with you basic premise - there should be no welfare whatsoever. But let’s start at the top - no subsidies or tax breaks for any businesses. Once we’ve established that model, it will be much easier to eliminate the individual welfare.

    Posted by Mikael Covey  on  06/05  at  11:19 PM
  • Excellent point, Stokey.

    I have a weak theory that the idea of “getting help from the government” is supported by the masses because of welfare for individuals (including grants and other kinds of handouts - to individuals).  If the individuals receiving these benefits (says the theory) stop believing they are a good thing, then the voters keeping people in office will become less tolerable of lobbyists and the corporate welfare system will die for its political ugliness.  It’s a weak theory.

    But that ugliness is there already.  Support for the various parts of the system comes from individuals, and it is the small but widespread tendency to want handouts that causes them to be created by our rulers.  I think that most corporate welfare deals provide handouts to many individuals (stockholders obviously, but even customers, workers, suppliers… the list goes on), so the task is to convince each, in turn, that self-sufficiency is valuable even when handouts are easy to come by.  Maybe I’ll try that next.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  06/06  at  12:14 PM
  • You hit the key word at the top. Lobbyists. There are many other key words as well, but let’s start there. View the entire government as a house on stilts you want to knock down. Getting the people inside to knock it down could happen, but would take longer than knocking the stilts out from beneath the beast.

    It’s the built in “props” that support the government system, ie subsidization, welfare, etc, that make it so mammoth and seemingly impenetrable. Think about it. Lobbyists are paying jobs, often high paying jobs, that represent businesses to sway government officials for things such as tax breaks, subsidies, friendly laws, and the placement of fat contracts. The playing field should be leveled. What if the unemployed had highly paid lobbysists? Think about it. Do you think they’d get $1000 a month and scrape by forever? Hell no, with a good lobbyist armed with lies and votes and cash, they’d be driving government issued Lincoln Town Cars with 50k a year to scrape by on.

    Politicians have to glad hand and promise so much to get up the food chain, and have to raise so much cash to compete against other politicians and candidates, the government is merely a large PR business at this point. To stop welfare and subsidization the entire VOTING process would have to be changed, and people would have to be re-educated. Therein lie the stilts that would topple the house. An educated person would understand that subsisting off of the “welfare” of others (tongue firmly in cheek as it is forced welfare)forever is no way to live. I would gladly help my neighbor out, it’s the being forced thing that bugs me. The force comes from a system that allows business to fund politicians based on promised assistance, which is required to fund the almighty campaign that issues the power. To make the campaign attractive, no one can come out against “welfare” and the system, and certainly not against subsidization of the very businesses that get them into office. As Warren Zevon said, “send lawyers, guns, and money!”

    The system should become level for individuals and businesses. Since, obviously, the poor can’t afford lawyers and lobbyists to argue in their stead the carving up of the tax pie, neither, then, should businesses be allowed to.

    Also, politicians wouldn’t have to worry about spending so much time RAISING money to run if there was a set figure to be spent on any given campaign… 0

    Technology today could be used, media coverage allotted for certain levels of campaign, ie one hour per week tv time allotted for mayor, local, 2 hrs regional for senator… etc

    getting back to early days of government when races were won on principals dicussed and argued via stump speeches,not ADs and sound bytes, when campaigns were won and lost on what a candidate actually intended to do.

    It would start the toppling of the big high and mighty house, that’s for sure. Jeez, these thoughts make me want to grab a shower and go jam on stage for awhile, pelting my senses with obnoxiously loud rock until my body quivers and my eardrums bleed.

    I think I’ll go do that now.

    Posted by deminizer  on  06/06  at  05:08 PM
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