Those who work for a living might want to put away shoes, hammers, and other hard objects to keep from throwing them through the computer. A new study shows that on average the government spends $168 per household on various assistance programs, one-fifth more than the median income of $137.
As the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee reported (after all, who else in government is going to do it?), welfare spending per hour per household in poverty is $30.60, which is higher than the $25.03 median income per hour.
The Weekly Standard points out that direct welfare payments are not taxed:
After accounting for federal taxes, the median hourly wage drops to between $21.50 and $23.45, depending on a household’s deductions and filing status. State and local taxes further reduce the median household’s hourly earnings. By contrast, welfare benefits are not taxed.”
Welfare recipients never had it so good. This is not to say that poor people are rich, or that life is easy for everyone on food stamps or on some other form of government assistance. It’s just that conservatives would rather poor people be working, rather than paying their way through life on other people’s dime (which at this point, is their children’s dime). Work is not only more economically productive, but it offers more opportunity for people to improve their own lot — not to mention that working people are more likely to feel dignity and self-importance.
If welfare is inherently compassionate, then there is a Pavlovian ego-stroke for Congress passing even unsustainable spending programs. On the other hand, conservatives get demonized for suggesting there is so such thing as a budget, and that you can’t keep looting the private sector without negative consequences — like systemically high unemployment.
Progressives shouldn’t fool themselves or try to fool anybody else that they are more for people working than their ideological opponents, and conservatives are either getting in the way of people working or would rather people be unemployed. That would be utter rubbish. Progressives have been gushing about big government programs since the invention of the telephone, and this is the logical consequence of welfare state spending without limit: people find it easier to go on the government dole than to strive for a work paycheck.
Why work? Seriously, why not everyone quit their jobs and go sign up for government welfare? It’s compassionate and oh-so-progressive. That’s the message the Democrat Party has been churning out for decades, and even some Republicans like George W. Bush fell for it.
It’s much wiser to heed the words of Benjamin Franklin: “I am for doing good to the poor, but… I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed…that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”
But, but… making people uncomfortable is cruel! And intergenerational poverty and a collapsed economy isn’t?