You know what happens if you don’t get government money? Sudden attacks of efficiency. *UPDATED*

For months now, local charitable organizations have been sounding the drum:  if taxpayer money goes away, we vanish.  In other words, if evil Republicans get their hands on the budget, poor people will suffer.

I’m already wise to this propaganda, having lived through 1994’s welfare reform.  We were told then that the poor would be cannibalizing each other in the street if we limited (not ended, but limited) “welfare as we know it.” That doomsday scenario didn’t happen. (And really, when have Progressive doomsday scenarios ever come to pass?  Surprisingly — at least, surprisingly to liberals — the poor adjusted to new marketplace realities.  That the Democrats want to use the current downturn to reinstate welfare as we knew it is a completely different story.  Certainly, if they do, the poor will readily readjust to government dependency.

But I digress….

I was talking about those charities that assured us that the diminution in taxpayer support would destroy them.  It turns out that, when push comes to shove, not all are willing to score political points by yielding gracefully to the government scalpel.  Some, confronted with free market realities, are engaging in free market solutions.  Here in Marin, the ones that want to continue providing their valuable services are becoming more efficient:

On a recent Wednesday afternoon, 37-year-old Veronica Brady helped whip up lunch for a room full of seniors, people with disabilities and other patrons at Whistlestop’s Jackson Cafe in San Rafael.

Brady, who in 2003 lost her law office job and has struggled with homelessness and low-paying employment since, is learning culinary skills and earning hourly wages as part of Homeward Bound of Marin’s Fresh Starts Culinary Academy.

In what some see as a growing trend among nonprofits struggling to make ends meet in the down economy, Whistlestop and Homeward Bound have teamed up to run the cafe and boost the quality of food there.


“What’s happening is that particularly in this environment that’s a very challenging environment for nonprofit organizations and for schools, our experience is that groups really are looking for ways to coordinate and collaborate on their work,” Peters said. He noted that in addition to economic efficiencies, the partnership “almost always results in a better and more coordinated level of service for clients or students or anyone using the service.”

Homeward Bound and Whistlestop aren’t the only nonprofits to team up that the community foundation works with, Peters said. For example, more than a dozen groups have partnered to form the Thriving Families Network, which seeks to strengthen families and help individuals achieve self-sufficiency, among other goals, he noted.

“Over time I definitely am seeing more openness (to collaboration), and it’s clearly the cuts in resources,” said Linda Davis, CEO of the Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership of Marin. “What a lot of nonprofits did when the economy collapsed is we reduced our staffing. In order to get our missions accomplished, we are looking at partnerships and collaborations in a whole different way.”

Government money encourages inefficiency and a lack of imagination.  Once the spigot is opened, it flows regardless of market realities and management decisions.  Just as muscles need resistance to retain their strength, so too do humans and businesses need some external pressures to keep their edge.  Take away that pressure and you end up with useless flab.

UPDATE:  Because coincidence is a wonderful thing, just today The Anchoress did a post showing precisely how mentally flabby those dependent on government funds become.

Welfare versus parasitism

When I lived in England many, many moons ago, I met an English student who had spent the previous summer working, very, very hard, at the local zoo.  The highlight of his work day was driving around the little kiddy train, and even that wasn’t much fun.  He spent the rest of the time mucking out the animals’ enclosures.  He found the elephant enclosure especially distasteful.

His sister, who was about his age, didn’t bother to get a job.  She spent her time watching the soaps on telly, going out drinking with her friends, and collecting the dole.

At summer’s end, the sister had gotten more money on the dole than my friend did, despite his hard, honest work.  The result was that, while he expected to work a real job once he had his engineering degree, he was very clear that he would never work again until that degree catapulted him into a different income bracket.  At the lower bracket, living in a welfare state, it was much smarter not to work at all.

Thirty years on, and that message in England has not changed one iota:

A haulage boss was left stunned after an unemployed driver rejected the offer of a job paying more than £500 a week so he could remain on benefits.

Graham Poole, the managing director of a 23-wagon fleet in Rochdale, offered the job to the man who had been out of work for 18 months only to be told told it was not enough to have him come off government handouts.

The man turned the job down claiming he could get more money on benefits by ‘sitting around at home’.

(You can read the rest here.)

Funnily enough, if a government pays people not to work, they won’t work.  The workers have figured that out, of course.  The ideologues behind Leftist government prefer not to think about it, as they pursue their social re-engineering goals.

The reckoning always has to come, though.  At some point, nobody is left to work, and then the whole Ponzi scheme collapses.

An email that’s making the rounds, relating one vet’s story *UPDATED*

UPDATE:  I’m reprinting here Baseballmaven’s comment:

This was sent to me also–researching on Snopes,  while the d’Lynn part wasn’t there; however, the part about the welfare recipient in Florida was there and turned out to be NOT TRUE..variations have been circulating since 2004. The original example actually came from Canada, and even there wasn’t validated. Ironically, of course, sadly it rings true to us that a vet would be ill used compared to an illegal immigrant, especially under the current regime.

So, enjoy it for what it’s worth, but it’s not true.  It would be interesting, though, if someone would take the time to compare benefits for an illegal immigrant with four children, versus those for a disabled Vietnam Vet.  I don’t know what the result would be, but I’d like to see it.  It would clarify things to know the facts.


I can’t vouch for whether this is true or not.  That is, I don’t know if “d’Lynn” even exists, nor do I know if the facts related regarding the different treatment meted out to vets and illegals are true.  I checked on Snopes, and this email hasn’t been subject to any “urban legend” analysis.  I therefore pass this email on to you so that you can make your own judgment calls, based up0n your own knowledge of how the world works:

Vets Alert


My name is d’Lynn – I’m a disabled Vietnam vet.., don’t look too bad for a beat-up old fart, do I? .., and that’s my ride.., she’s looking pretty good looking also.., especially when you consider that she’ll turn twenty this summer – that’s right .., it’s a 1990 with a 1990 sidecar.., I can’t ride a solo bike…, ergo – the sidecar rig. It’s my sole means of transportation – rain, or shine.., snow, or wind.., and this summer also marks a mile stone.., in both of our lives…, as I will finally be able to pay her off. 20 years old? What? Why did it take so long ? You weren’t paying attention, were you? It’s right at the beginning of this paragraph. I am a disabled vet.., which means I receive a veterans administration disability pension.., which also means; “I’m broke!” .., just one step ahead of being homeless every month.., and that’s not an idle statement.., or an: “oh., whoa is me” .., dire complaint. There is a point to this., so hang in there a minute, or two.., and read on.

There’s a 25 year old illegal immigrant women living in Florida ., with eight kids. Yes., eight “anchor babies”. .., and she receives just shy of $1,500 per month…, per kid…, plus, medical.., plus food stamps. Oh, wait.., I’ve been informed that I shouldn’t call them Food Stamps anymore – that’s not PC. It’s all called – ‘Social Assistance’.., now. You do the math on that yourself. I’d say that she was schooled early in how to make it in the system. 25 years old.., eight kids…, yep – she started early.

You can whip-out the calculator if you want.., but this women who never has paid a dime in taxes of any kind.., [ and still doesn’t – she’s ‘illegal’ – remember?] .., is here, in this country illegally.., paid not one cent in medical for all the ‘anchor babies’.., makes more in one month, legally, then I receive in over a year and half in disability payments…, and I can’t even get food stamps ! Oops – I mean.., Social Assistance.

Technically – I am eligible for ‘Social Assistance’.., I was told it would be a walk through – a gimme – being disabled., no problem.., and in the very next breath was also informed that under the law, the amount I received in ‘Social Assistance’., would be deducted from my disability pension.

Let’s say I take a great photograph. It was just luck., a one of a kind accidental – in the right place at the right time, shot. My local newspaper offers me fifty bucks to use the photo in a featured story. [ I live in a small town – fifty bucks is all they could afford.] I have to report that fifty dollars to the VA as earned income – which will immediately be deducted from my next months disability check. If I don’t report it, I am in violation of federal law., and technically they can stop my disability pension and prosecute me under a federal felony. Pretty cool, eh? For fifty bucks.

I see no point in dealing with two federal bureaucracies.., so I don’t bother. What’s the point ?

She’s here illegally – and with just one kid.., would make over twice what I receive per month. She…, has eight.., and she is not a stand-out case.., she is not alone. That’s the way the system works. Millions of illegal immigrants know this.., know how the system works.., and know how to use it. [ Haven’t you seen the pamphlet? It’s handed out all along our borders – “The Illegal Immigrants’ Guide to Keeping America Just The Way It Is.”].., and that’s just the way it works.

Did you know that the federal government provides a ‘refugee’ in this country with a monthly ‘stipend’ of $1,890 – plus $580 a month in ‘Social Assistance’., ? That $2,470 a month. Tax free. That’s two and half times what I am allowed to receive as a disabled vet. And just what did they do to earn this? All’s you have to do is show up on our collective door step – raise you right hand and swear that you’re a refugee and bingo – receive $30,000 a year, tax free. That’s more then someone making $15 an hour., and they have to pay taxes to boot!

Now.., in defense of the Veterans Administration.., they are doing what they can – with what they’ve got. This is precious little compared to what they should have to get the job done. At least this country has a VA. It’s the Senate that keeps passing laws, rules and guidelines, cutting their budget.., denying requests for more staff, and computer systems to handle the massive work flow. Their hands are tied – by the very government that’s suppose to give them what they need to get the job done – by the government you voted into office. Don’t scream at the VA.., I have. It’s misguided anger.

The point to this story? Just why are you paying such high taxes to support this incredibly screwed-up government? Why !? .., and I am not proposing you stop paying your taxes. That’s wrong. There are good programs and reasons to pay your taxes and support our government.

What am I proposing? It’s quite simple. Vote.

The government.., our government.., is broken.., and we as the voters serve as the maintenance crew. We fix it.., by voting.

I will say that it ties in with something I heard on Sean Hannity today, to the effect that illegal immigrants serve a necessary function by providing “cheap” labor. As Sean’s correspondent pointed out, when one looks at all the government benefits that can be rained down upon a single illegal and his family, the cost to society far exceeds the “cheap” labor this non-taxpayer provides.

Federal welfare and the undeserving poor *UPDATED*

George Bernard Shaw was a reprehensible human being and, for the most part, quite bombastic (by which I mean dull, because polemical) playwright.  Nevertheless, he occasionally hit the nail on the head, as he does with this little monologue by Alfred Doolittle, from Pygmalion, a man who feels that welfare and morality should never be intertwined:

Don’t look at it that way. What am I, Governors both? I ask you, what am I? I’m one of the undeserving poor:  that’s what I am. Think of what that means to a man. It means that he’s up against middle class morality all the time. If there’s anything going, and I put in for a bit of it, it’s always the same story: “You’re undeserving; so you can’t have it.” But my needs is as great as the most deserving widow’s that ever got money out of six different charities in one week for the death of the same husband. I don’t need less than a deserving man: I need more. I don’t eat less hearty than him; and I drink a lot more. I want a bit of amusement, ’cause I’m a thinking man. I want cheerfulness and a song and a band when I feel low. Well, they charge me just the same for everything as they charge the deserving. What is middle class morality? Just an excuse for never giving me anything. Therefore, I ask you, as two gentlemen, not to play that game on me. I’m playing straight with you. I ain’t pretending to be deserving. I’m undeserving; and I mean to go on being undeserving. I like it; and that’s the truth.

One of the things implicit in Doolittle’s speech is the belief that welfare agencies would actually recognize the distinction between deserving and undeserving poor.  Certainly it was true for centuries that England tried to distinguish between the two.  England’s ancient poor laws required local communities to care for their own poor.  To use a weak analogy when thinking about pre-Industrial England, the system was a state system, rather than a federal one, with the national government mandating local responsibilities, but otherwise staying out of the way.

These local poor laws had a definite down side:  communities tended to be very xenophobic, since they were worried that any strangers coming through might become a welfare burden.  Generosity also varied greatly from locality to locality, with Town X perhaps being infinitely more beneficent than Town Y.  The gaps in the system left old people dying in their beds of starvation, and orphan children dying by the side of the road.

The old poor laws weren’t all bad, though.  Their main virtue was the way in which they allowed the community to apply to its decision-making actual knowledge about the state of the person seeking charity.  Thus, the community would know for an absolute fact that Widow Green was genuinely destitute, and incapable of keeping herself, thereby making her one of the deserving poor.  Likewise, the community would know that Joe Smith was simply lazy and drank too much.  As to Joe, the hardworking people in the community, who were often hungry themselves, would see little virtue in subsidizing him.  Conversely, looking at Widow Green, each would think “there but for the Grace of God go I (or my wife, or mother, or father),” and would much more willingly aid the poor widow.

As industrialization took over in England, the British had to grapple with the fact that urbanization meant one no longer knew ones neighbors.  It was impossible to tell whether that strange man  seeking aid was truly down on his luck or was simply a slacker looking for a buck (or, I guess I should say, a pound).  The Victorian response was the infamous “poor house,” which institutionalized poor people.  The theory was that, if you were in a poor house, it would be obvious if you were able to work, in which case you would be put to work for your food, or if you were genuinely incapable of supporting yourself, in which case you would be given charity without labor as a purchase price.

In theory, the poor house was quite a sound system, neatly separating the needy wheat from the lazy chaff. In practice, though, the poor house was a magnet for abuse.  The “able” poor were worked liked slaves; the “disabled” poor were starved and abused.  The poor houses were also dead ends from which it was very difficult to emerge.  Unless your local poorhouse had a truly enlightened management, which sought to teach people useful skills and find them employment, it was pretty much a revolving door of slavery and abject poverty.

When the welfare state came along, however, all distinctions between deserving and undeserving poor went out the window.  The system assumed that, with everyone stirred into a single joyful, Communist economic pot, those who could work would want to, and that those who claimed disability would be telling the truth.  Somehow the socialists entirely missed out on the seminar discussing base human nature.

The fact is that there are some people who are lazy, and will not work unless an external force pressures them to do so.  There are some people who feel an enormous sense of entitlement and will not work if they feel they are superior to all offerings in the marketplace.  There are some people who consider scamming the system sufficient work in and of itself.  And there are, of course, people who are genuinely incapable of caring for themselves:  the disabled (mentally and physically), the aged, the widow surrounded by her children, the 0rphan.  In an ideal world, family steps in to help.  In a welfare world, the federals get greeted with “Hello, Daddy!”

In other words, our federal welfare system is set up so that, no matter who turns up at the door, the system does not distinguish between the deserving and the undeserving.  It is a vast bureaucracy that, aside from forcing people through a few meaningless hurdles (such as pretending to look for a job), treats all comers as equally needy.  This is partially because we live in a non-judgmental world (unless you’re a conservative, in which case you deserve all negative judgments rained down upon you), and it is considered politically incorrect to hint that someone’s bad situation might be a result of bad decisions and bad behavior, rather than bad luck.  This is also because, in a system that is the antithesis of the old British poor laws, the people charged with handing out the money are completely ignorant about the identity and nature of those applying for this recycled tax money.

This double whammy — political correctness and the ignorance of a giant bureaucracy — is an enticement to those who, in Doolittle’s words, think to themselves, “I don’t need less than a deserving man: I need more. I don’t eat less hearty than him; and I drink a lot more. I want a bit of amusement, ’cause I’m a thinking man. I want cheerfulness and a song and a band when I feel low. Well, they charge me just the same for everything as they charge the deserving.”

I’ve certainly seen many people over the years who have cheerfully, or arrogantly, abused the system.  And I’m not talking about the infamous “welfare queens” of the Clinton era, those larger than life women who lived in all-black ghettoes, and raised five children, all by different fathers, with each child’s welfare payments contributing to the family pot.  I’m actually thinking of welfare abusers who come from middle class homes and simply feel entitled to support.  When their families stop supporting them, they believe the “system” should take over.

I first became aware of this sense of entitlement as a child living in a home with a father who worked like a dog.  Throughout my childhood, my Dad held two and sometimes three jobs at a time, in addition to earning his Masters in the hopes that he could increase his earning power (faint hope, that).  He was, in other words, an old fashioned moralist who believed that a man is responsible for himself and his family.

Daddy was livid, truly livid, when he learned that a certain shlub we knew through Israeli folk dancing (an activity that attracted both families and hippy-dippies), while on welfare, had indulged himself with a trip to Mexico, and was planning on a trip to Hawaii.  That would have been the year we couldn’t afford a trip anywhere thanks, in part, to the fact that my Dad was subsidizing these scroungers through his taxes.

What also brought my Dad to a foaming frenzy was the way in which the daughter of family friends conducted herself.  These friends were quite well-to-do.  When their daughter didn’t want to live at home anymore (she was in her early 20s), they did not set her up in an apartment, nor did she get a job.  Instead, she simply moved out and instantly applied for welfare.  Once again, my father found himself subsidizing a young woman whose needs were substantially less than his, and whose family much richer.

With the current recession, I know people who lost their jobs, and looked for and found new ones.  For all of them, it was a dreadful, destabilizing experience.  Some had to leave communities in which they had deep roots.  Others had to settle for jobs far removed from their interests or skills.  I deeply sympathized with their travails, and counted my blessings (as I do daily) that I was not forced to make the hard decisions that were driving them.

However, during this same recession, I’ve also known people who feel that they ought to be holding a specific type of job, with a specific market cachet, and refuse to settle for anything less.  These job snobs are on welfare now, and you and I are supporting them.  Apparently welfare is more honorable than the “wrong” kind of job.  Given their sense of entitlement, I can assure you that these people are not at all appreciative of your tax sacrifice.  They feel, instead, that they’ve been done wrong by a system that fails to recognize their true worth.

I don’t have an answer to the conundrum of the poor.  As the Bible says, “For ye have the poor always with you” (Matthew 26:11.)  However, I do have a few core beliefs that would dictate a an approach entirely different from our current federal welfare.

First of all, I would get the feds out of welfare entirely.  I don’t see anything in the Constitution that allows the feds to engage in this type of wealth redistribution, even for ostensibly charitable reasons.

Second, I would drastically reduce taxes all around.  As you know, I believe that government doesn’t create wealth, it simply prints money.  People create wealth.  And, to recycle a hackneyed phrase, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”  If we can stop the paper money cycle of an overweaning federal government, and encourage genuine wealth (and job) creation, the scale of poverty would be significantly smaller.

Third, I would take a page out of the old English poor laws and make welfare a local system, although I would agree to make it subject to state, or even federal oversight to avoid the glaring inequities that resulted either from pre-Industrial xenophobia or post-Industrial greed.  By localizing welfare, those charged with distributing money would have a much better handle on that sticky line between deserving and undeserving poor.  Oh, and as to this last one, I would through PC pieties out that window and draw that line with impunity.  If you are capable of working, you work; if not, as a moral person, in a moral society, I will provide for your care.

The final conundrum, which is a subset of my belief that people should work if they can, is to figure out how to create jobs that aren’t tantamount to slavery.  The logical thing, of course, would be to put these people to work for the local community’s benefit:  caring for public lands, cleaning litter, etc.  To avoid the slavery issue, they would be paid the going, non-union rate for their labors.  The problem, of course, would be that these people would complete with the SEIU and other government unions.  So the last thing I’d do is to get rid of the government unions.  Boy, wouldn’t that be a change to the system?

UPDATE:  Speaking of unending welfare….

Using welfare to buy votes to maintain perpetual power

The Daily Mail has the data to prove what we all knew:  a political party that shifts the tax burden to less than 50% of the population, while leaving more than half the population dependent on government largesse, wins in perpetuity (or until the country implodes, whichever comes first).

Woe betide us if we follow in England’s footsteps

England is a benefits culture.  The government, although strapped for cash, hands out benefits like candy, and each Briton feels entitled to his or her share.  It’s no wonder, of course.  Not only is there no stigma attached to benefits, there’s no upside to avoiding them.  Already back in the early 1980s, I had a friend who spent the entire summer before college cleaning up after elephants at the local zoo.  During the same summer, his sister lay on the couch, watched the Soaps on the telly, and collected her dole check.  At summer’s end, after he’d been taxed on his elephant poop pittance, she had more money than he did.  For him, it was a valuable lesson learned about British economics.

The inevitable has happened, with British citizens having become dysfunctionally inert:

The stigma that once went with claiming benefits rather than working for a living has been lost, a study has claimed.

The work ethic that inspired successive generations has ebbed away in the face of the welfare state.

Over the past decades each generation has seen more and more people milking the benefit system, which has sapped their will to work, the research from the Centre for Economic Performance said.


The report said: ‘It has long been recognised that generous unemployment benefits create moral hazard – workers are partly protected against the consequences of being unemployed, so they are less likely to search for jobs with the same intensity.’


The report in the journal CentrePiece said: ‘A decline in the work ethic, induced by the expansion of the welfare state, is key to understanding European unemployment.’

Researchers looked at answers from countries across Europe to the World Values Survey, a regular poll carried out in more than 90 countries since 1980.

They examined numbers of people in different age groups who said they thought it was never justifiable to cheat to get benefits.

They found that people in their 40s – born in the 1960s – are 12 per cent more likely than those in their 70s – who were born in the 1930s, before the days of all-encompassing welfare states – to say benefit cheating is justifiable.

For those born in the 1970s, those who would never falsely claim benefits were 19 per cent fewer than those born in the 1930s.

For people born in the 1980s, the gap rose to 24 per cent. The report said the rise in numbers prepared to cheat the benefits system held good regardless of the political views or educational level of the individual.

‘This decline in the work ethic could be one of the major factors explaining the evolution of unemployment since 1945,’ Mr Michau said.

Read more here.

This study is important, not only because it explains England’s decline into a nation characterized by sloth and debauchery, but because it presages the future Obama and the Democrats plan for us here in America.  Nancy wants to tax the functional middle class out of existence, and Obama is determined to channel those same tax moneys into a permanent pot for everyone who doesn’t want to work.  Their efforts will not create a new paradise in which everyone is loved and cared for.  It will create a hellish society of dependency and demoralization.  People whose lives lack meaning and purpose seem to slide inevitably into violent anarchy.

Urine or you’re out

Got this in an email today:

THE JOB – URINE TEST (Whoever wrote this one deserves a HUGE pat on the back!)

Like a lot of folks in this state, I have a job. I work, they pay me. I pay my taxes and the government distributes my taxes as it sees fit. In
order to get that paycheck, I am required to pass a random urine test with which I have no problem. What I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people who don’t have to pass a urine test. So here is my question. Shouldn’t one have to pass a urine test to get a welfare check because I have to pass one to earn it for them? Please understand, I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet. I do, on the other hand, have a problem with helping someone sitting on their rump–doing drugs, while I work. Can you imagine how much money the state would save if people had to pass a urine test to get a public assistance check? I guess we could title that program, ‘Urine or You’re Out’.

The codependent liberal party

In the old days, when someone was a substance abuser, the entire onus for the abuse lay with that person.  At a certain point, however, someone figured out that, in many relationships, the abuser’s partner was part of the dance of drug or alcohol dependency.  A new term entered the pop culture vocabulary:  “codependent.”

The theory behind codependency is that the codependent person, for his or her own psychological reasons, needs the abuser to continue abuse.  That’s why you see the abuser’s partner buying booze for the alcoholic, or making excuses to the employer for the drug abuser’s bad behavior.

Sometimes, of course, the codependent is simply trying to ensure the abuser’s continued functioning for economic reasons.  If your husband is the sole breadwinner, and if he benefits from the hair of the dog that bit him so that he can go to work, it’s in your interest, at least in the short term, to make sure he gets that drink.  Likewise, if Mom has a happy drunk, but a mean hangover, keep her drunk, right?

Practicalities aside, there are definitely relationships in which the codependent gets a sort of sick, martyred pleasure out of keeping the abuser tied to the abuse.  For someone with low self-esteem, or a pathological desire to be needed, there’s really something satisfying in the bizarre dance of keeping an alcoholic simultaneously tied to his bottle and functioning.  You are both better than he is and entirely necessary to his survival.  You are the hero; he (or she) the perpetual damsel in distress.  Until things get intolerable, your needs are satisfied catering to his illness.

Of course, when things finally do get intolerable, you often find that it’s too late to do anything to change the situation.  You’ve gone too far down the slope of abuse and degradation for either of you to recover.

This whole line of thinking flows from the workout I had this morning at the dojo.  Everyone there is fairly successful (I know, ’cause I talk to people), most people there are Obama-ites (I know, because I read the bumper stickers and listen to the talk), and anyone who was at today’s workout is a driven person.  You don’t work out as maniacally as we did, pushing through the pain and fatigue, unless there’s a very deep level of commitment to succeed.

As the workout wrapped up, and we all oozed our sweaty bodies out of the doors, it occurred to me that my friends at the dojo are both a microcosm of the driven personalities in Marin and a microcosm of the liberal mentality.  Liberals actually expect quite a lot from themselves.  And so many of them need to feel that they are better than others.  They can pull an 80 hour work week, carpool their kids all over the place, and engage in a high intensity workout because they are superior — or, at least, they need others to see them that way.

To maintain that illusion of superiority, however, liberals don’t expect the Hispanic gardener, or the black bus driver, or the southern talking Mom in the trailer to prove that he (or she) is capable of precisely the same efforts and outcome.  And in order for liberals to maintain that satisfying distance from that gardener or bus driver or mom, they need to create a dependency system whereby they keep those people in their place. The substance liberals offer these people isn’t alcohol, or meth, or cocaine — it’s government money.

Once the flow of government money begins, the subliminal liberal thought process locks into place:  “Sure I suffer a lot working so hard to keep the flow of government money, and sure I pay lip service to how pathetic your life is, but as long as you’re hooked on that largesse, I can look at myself as a superior, beneficent being.  I’m better than you are.  I work harder than you do.  I’m more productive and I expect more from myself.  And as long as I keep your supply of government cash flowing, I never have to see a situation in which you, pathetic you, prove that you too can work long, hard and successfully.”

Of course, as with the chemical substance abuser, being hooked on a free money is a stable situation for only so long.  The abuser gradually needs more and more of the substance to keep functioning (whether alcohol, drugs or welfare).  Then, at some indeterminate point, but a point that always seems to come as a big surprise, nothing helps anymore.  The substance abuser becomes dysfunctional and the whole abuser/codependent dance grinds to a halt.

That’s what’s going to happen to America.  Right now, we’re creating a two class system, led by Obama, our Codependent in Chief, who is aided by his other obsessive, arrogant and martyred Ivy League educated codependents.  They see themselves as superior beings, who can work harder, be more productive, and be more moral than the “average” American.  But the only way they can maintain this fantasy (and it is a fantasy) is to ensure that the average American is prevented from being hard working, productive and moral.  So Obama and his allies are busy creating a political system that provides disincentives for the precisely the type of virtuous behavior that manifestly characterizes the Progressive leadership.  Eventually, though, those same Americans that we hook on government money will become so dysfunctional that nothing can save them.  And then it all grinds to a halt.

By the way, if you think I’m fantasizing about what happens when you hook a community on government money, just look at what the liberals did to the blacks starting with the 1960s’ Great Society.  Rather than giving the blacks equal opportunities alongside whites, which would have enabled black Americans to engage in the same obsessive, hard-working, compulsive, driven, high achieving behavior that characterized whites, the Great Society gave them free money — and almost destroyed them.  And throughout those years of codependent destruction, even as whites bemoaned the burdens of crimes and drugs and illiteracy that blacks placed on America, those same whites could view themselves as beneficent and superior beings, and that almost made it all worth while.

Perhaps it’s time for us to begin a Twelve Step Program for Democrats.  We need to help them so that they’ll stop “helping” others.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

What next for the nanny state?

Here in California, the hands-free cell phone law went into effect July 1.  (By the way, does anyone know whether there was an actual increase in traffic accidents after cell phones became popular?)  This morning, I heard a story that said that 1,800 fires and dozens of injuries resulted from fireworks last year.  Of course, in most communities around where I live, most fireworks are already illegal.  Yet, I also heard a story this morning that in California alone 50 people died last year from boating accidents, but I’ve not heard a call for a ban on pleasure boating.  And, a few days ago I heard about the latest of the frequent fatal accidents at amusement parks, but I haven’t heard any calls to ban amusement parks.

A few questions:  How do does our government select which forms of entertainment to protect us from?  What is next on the nanny state agenda?  I suppose the next logical step is banning cigarette smoking by drivers.  Hard to picture a hands-free cigarette.  But what else?  And why is the government in the business of protecting us from our own (and, I suppose, each other’s) stupidity? 

This issue has deeper ramifications than one might think.  Perhaps the biggest cause of the decline of American civilization in the last 50 years is that we’ve gotten very soft.  We don’t have the stomach for a serious, protracted war.  When challenged economically, we don’t step our game up a notch, we run for the cover of protectionist legislation (conservatives are especially guilty of this one).  We use social promotion and grades-free systems to protect our children from their own failures.  We teach unearned self-esteem, rather than stressing the need to actually accomplish anything to earn self-esteem.  We ban running, active and competitive play on the playground.

At all levels, we excuse failure.  It’s the parent’s fault.  It’s society’s fault.  It’s the government’s fault.  It’s the fault of stuff that happened to our great great great grandparents 150 years ago.  It’s the UN’s fault.  It’s the EU’s fault.  It’s OPEC’s fault.  It’s the fault of all those other nations who engage in “unfair” trade practices.  It’s everybody’s fault but our own personal fault.

We’ve gotten so soft, in fact, that we expect the government to protect us from ourselves and to give us everything we need, whether we’ve earned it or not (think the push for universal health care, for example).  We think safety, security and even comfort are inalienable rights.

At bottom, all of the various threads I’ve pointed to are attacks on personal responsibility, and there do not appear to be any limits placed on the attackers.  This cannot be healthy, can it?  If we decide government is responsible for everything and no one is responsible for himself or herself how will our society survive?  In a nanny state, we all become children.  And no society of children can long survive.  Does this make sense?  And what, if anything, can we do to prevent the increasing infantization of the American public? 

Life in England

England is becoming an increasingly alien place in terms of modern values. Two articles from today’s Daily Mail (a useful repository for stories the other papers are embarrassed to print):

1. A man was charged as a criminal for over filling his garbage can.

2. Families that refuse even to look for work, finding welfare preferable. Incidentally, I believe this story absolutely. When I lived in England in the early 1980s, I had a friend who spent a miserable summer cleaning up after the elephants at the local zoo. His sister spent the entire summer watching soaps on the “telly” and collecting her welfare check. At the end of the summer, she had almost twice as much money as he did. He was no fool, and vowed never to work again unless he could get a high paying job with his eventual engineering degree.

Societal breakdown in England

Some months ago, the British papers were filled with the story of Shannon Matthews, a little girl who vanished from her home in West Yorkshire, sparking a huge manhunt. She was eventually found, 24 days later, at the home of her stepfather’s uncle. The big shocker, though, was the fact that both her stepfather and mother were later arrested, the former for child porn, the latter for interfering with the investigation (a bunch of sisters, cousins and aunts were arrested on these same grounds).

The Daily Mail found interesting the plethora of criminals in this one family and did a little investigation. It discovered that the family was descended from solid yeoman stock — never high class, but not the dregs of society either. Now, with the complicity of Britain’s vast welfare system, the family has descended into criminal chaos:

Our own researches have identified scores of her relations, living and dead, going back five generations to the thriving Dewsbury of the 19th century.

The yeoman surnames – Drake, Bell, Lamb, Asquith, Shepherd – suggest they could be traced back, somewhere in England at least, for several centuries before that.

What emerges is a fascinating, if bleak, pattern of gradual social disintegration. It surely resonates with what is happening in many other Northern, white, lower working-class communities. An epoch has passed.

Karen Matthews is a striking figurehead for this generation.

She has never been in regular work yet receives £400 a week benefits, having had seven children by five different men.

Her forbears, though, were the footsoldiers of industrial Britain. Some of her parents’ generation even worked in the last factories, mines and mills – relics of West Yorkshire’s status as an economic powerhouse.

Today, heavy industry has moved on to other, cheaper and more productive parts of the globe. Only 40 people are now employed in weaving in the whole of Dewsbury.

The original workforce and their descendants, however, have been left marginalised, often suspicious of growing immigrant communities. Indeed, 13 per cent of Dewsbury’s population is of Asian origin – who bring their own traditions and entrepreneurial drive.

Other traditional foundation stones have also shifted.

The powerful family cornerstone of marriage no longer exists, nor in many cases does the nuclear household and the maternal bond.

The result has been disastrous.

At least 13 of the children in the latest generation related to the Matthews family do not live with their mothers, for one reason or another. Several are being looked after by others.

One was put out for adoption. Another is serving a life sentence in prison.

You can read the rest here.

There is no doubt, of course, that the history of humanity is of people going up and down in their fortunes. What’s striking here is of how closely the downward trajectory seems to be connected to a welfare state that substituted the government for breadwinners. In other words, it strikingly parallels what happened in the African-American community, with the coming of welfare. Bert Prelutsky summarizes that well:

Back in the 1960s, the Democrats went in for social engineering in a big way. They concentrated particularly on black Americans. One of the first things they did was to increase welfare, but only to those homes that didn’t have men living in them. That not only created dependency on the part of black women and children, but, inevitably, led young blacks to grow up without male authority figures around to keep them in line. The results weren’t too great for the grown-ups, either. Single black mothers, more often than not uneducated teenagers, were faced with the prospect of trying to raise and discipline unruly young guys; while far too many black men became as rootless and irresponsible as their offspring.

Nobody should be too surprised that blacks, whose families, in the main, used to be even more stable than whites during the 30s and 40s, are now in shambles. Half of teenage blacks drop out of high school before they graduate, and 70% of black babies are born to unmarried females.

I guess you could say that families come and families go, but government is forever.

Attention liberals: tough love is sometimes the answer

In the San Francisco Chronicle — the San Francisco Chronicle! — columnist CW Nevius continues to complain (rightly) about the way in which the homeless are truly destroying once beautiful San Francisco (a problem I trace with unerring personal memory to the revolting decay of the drug culture in the Haight at the end of the 1960s). This time, though, Nevius doesn’t just confine himself to pointing out the problem. Instead, he fingers a culprit and — surprise, surprise — it’s not George Bush or Iraq or selfish capitalists or racism or poverty. It’s the overwhelming assistance culture San Francisco has that attracts drug addicts and then the homeless advocates that cushion them from the consequences of their actions:

When a homeless man named James Allen Hill overdosed and died in the restroom of the San Francisco library last Friday afternoon, it was a shocker.

A drug overdose in the public library? Really?

“It was an unfortunate and tragic incident for everyone,” said library spokeswoman Marcia Schneider. “Especially for the security staff that handled it.”

There will be those who will see Hill’s death as a failure of the system, another example of how the city neglects its poorest residents.

That’s not the story here. The city did anything but neglect Hill. But his case does show a flaw, all right: Chronic and incorrigible offenders avoid the consequences of their actions – aggressive panhandling, public urinating or drunkenness – often through the help of well-intentioned attorneys for homeless advocates.

And instead of being placed in treatment, the offender goes back on the street and continues his destructive behavior.

Hill is a perfect example. A familiar nuisance in the Haight, Hill slept in a garage doorway near the Panhandle and was a constant, drunken annoyance to residents and police. From Aug. 27 of last year to Jan. 22, Hill was cited at least 15 times by officers, mostly for open alcoholic containers on the street and public drunkenness.

Time and again, those citations were dismissed.

Often cases like Hill’s never even make it to court. The district attorney’s office says that is because homeless advocate attorneys drag out the process as long as possible, creating a paper bottleneck in the courts with “burden of proof” legal requests. There are so many steps and appeals that any misstep can result in a dismissal, which the DA’s office says is why hundreds of “quality of life”‘ infractions are thrown out.

Just keep on reading here. It will make you realize that, just as the alcoholics and drug-addicts have their enablers amongst their families and friends (co-dependents is the word, I think), so too do the homeless have their enablers amongst the more liberal cities.

Living in the perpetual welfare state

I don’t really know what to say here. This is just so sad. If I had to guess, I’d say it was a combination of unlimited immigration, unlimited welfare, and the stagnant economy of the socialist state:

More than 2.2 million British children – one in five – now live in households dependent on state benefits, the Government has admitted.

In areas of Manchester, Liverpool, London and Glasgow almost half of children are growing up in entirely benefit-funded homes.

Government research reveals that such children are far more likely to become benefit-dependent adults, sparking fears that a generation of unemployable youngsters is being created.

The new figures, deposited in the Commons library as MPs left for the half-term holiday, will embarrass Gordon Brown because Labour has made eliminating child poverty a key manifesto pledge.

Britain now has Europe’s highest proportion of children in workless households.

Chris Grayling, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said: “This is a shocking indictment of the Government’s failure to tackle child poverty. The fact that nearly half of children in some areas come from homes entirely dependent on benefits should bring shame to ministers.”

Must read Mark Steyn about the real war on children

Mark Steyn took Pete Stark’s lunatic ravings about the pseudo Republican War on children and honed in on the real issue and the real war.  After pointing out how much material wealth Graeme Frost’s family has (jobs, homes, cars), yet it still demands free health insurance funded by those less wealthy, Steyn wrapped up with this point:

The Frosts are not emblematic of the health care needs of America so much as they are of the delusion of the broader Western world. They expect to be able to work “part-time” and “intermittently” but own two properties and three premium vehicles and have the state pick up health care costs. Who do you stick with the bill? Four-car owners? Much of France already lives that way: A healthy, wealthy, well-educated populace works a mandatory maximum 35-hour week with six weeks of paid vacation and retirement at 55 and with the government funding all the core responsibilities of adult life.

I’m in favor of tax credits for child health care, and Health Savings Accounts for adults, and any other reform that emphasizes the citizen’s responsibility to himself and his dependents. But middle-class entitlement creep would be wrong even if was affordable, even if Bill Gates wrote a check to cover it every month: it turns free-born citizens into enervated wards of the Nanny State. As Gerald Ford likes to say when trying to ingratiate himself with conservative audiences, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have.” But there’s an intermediate stage: A government big enough to give you everything you want isn’t big enough to get you to give any of it back. As I point out in my book, nothing makes a citizen more selfish than socially equitable communitarianism: Once a fellow’s enjoying the fruits of Euro-style entitlements, he couldn’t give a hoot about the general societal interest; he’s got his, and who cares if it’s going to bankrupt the state a generation hence?

That’s the real “war on children”: in Europe, it’s killing their future. Don’t make the same mistake here.

Ants and Grasshoppers

You all remember the Aesop’s fable about the Ant and Grasshopper, don’t you? That’s the one where the Ant works hard all year, while the Grasshopper just dances around. When winter comes, the Ant is comfortable in his warm, well-stocked home, while the Grasshopper is miserable and hungry. Or maybe you know the story of the Little Red Hen. She keeps asking for help as she plants her seeds, waters her wheat stalks, harvests the wheat, and bakes her bread loaf. To each request for help, her lazy farm companions say “no.” Then, when her bread is finally baked, they ask her to feed them, to which she replies “no.” These are both old stories. Aesop’s fable is probably about 6,500 years old, while the Little Red Hen story is at least a hundred years old and probably much more. The stories are blatantly moralistic: if you work hard, you will be fed and sheltered; if you don’t, you won’t.

We all know, of course, that life is not fair and that hard work will not always provide you with life’s necessities. Bad things happen: lost jobs, war, illness, drought, economic disasters, and other things over which even the hardest working individual has no control. And I believe that those of us who are in a more comfortable position have a moral obligation to take care of those who are victims of things over which they have no control. BUT (you knew there was going to be a “but” here, didn’t you?)….

But, lately I feel as if we, the hard working middle class, are being asked to take care of people, not who are victims of ill-fortune, but who are victims of their own bad choices. Right now, this issue is playing out on the macro field, with the S-CHIP debate. Or, more specifically, with the discovery that the boy whom the Democrats chose as the spokesman for imposing S-CHIP costs on working Americans is, in fact, from a middle class family whose father is following his employment bliss (that is, he has made the choice not to get a steady job) and who decided not to get insurance, even though he could afford it. That is, Dad made the choice but we, the American taxpayers, are being asked to pay for the consequences of his bad decision making.

I understand that it’s not the child’s fault that his parents make lousy decisions. But really, if we’re being asked to pay because the Dad is a dunderhead, maybe we should get more control over the situation. We have to assume that this Dad will make more and more choices that negatively affect his children and for which we, the taxpayers, then have to pay. (I think we can make this assumption because Dad is not apologetic about and has not learned from his choices. He’s instead using them to suck up wealth from people who, apparently foolishly, opted to work hard and be self-reliant.) Since he who pays the piper calls the tune, maybe we should take these children and put them in a home where the parents have proven track records of good choices? Eh. You’re right. I don’t think anyone is going to go for that. But really and truly, I don’t want to be called upon to pay for bad choices, without any ability to force those same people into making good choices that will cost me less.

I happen to be very sensitive about this issue because of my own life experience. Years ago, when I was a young, idealistic lawyer whose gay friends were dying left and right from AIDS, I got involved with a free legal service for people suffering from AIDS. My training consisted of attending several hours of lectures about helping these people maximize their Social Security, Medicare and Medical benefits to pay for their expensive treatments and other life needs. I never once put that training into use. I had about 15 referrals over the two years I stuck it out in that program and, without exception, the men who called on my free services were absolute flakes whose only skill was using the system to avoid paying for the messes they made. All had (or probably had) AIDS, but the illness was entirely unrelated to their demands on me. What they wanted me to do was relieve them of their obligations to pay rent or credit card debt. And they didn’t need this help because their disease had rendered them unemployable. All of them worked, and all of them, grasshopper-like, spent their money on drugs, alcohol, clubbing, clothes, trips, etc. Indeed, they spent their income on anything but rent and paying off all the debts they incurred supporting their hedonistic lifestyle. I became incredibly hostile to the whole organization, feeling (rightly, I think) that I was being used, and quit.

Ironically, as I was providing free legal services to these deadbeats, a friend of mine was slowly dying from AIDS and working himself to the bone to keep up with his obligations. He worked when he could hardly walk because of the mushroom shaped tumors bursting out from the bottom of his foot. He worked when he could hardly stand upright because if the giardia ravaging his system. He worked when all his hair fell out. He kept his health insurance alive to the bitter end, with the only government help coming from MediCal augmentations to his insurance. I gladly loaned this man money when he needed it. When he had to sell the little boat on which he lived to pay all of his debts, he insisted on paying me back, even though I tried to refuse the money. At the very end, a friend of his took him in, and he spent his last weeks dying slowly on that friend’s couch. These two men were Ants, and they’ve always lived in my memory two of the most decent, moral people I’ve ever met.

I appreciate that, once a bureaucracy is in place, it won’t, or can’t, distinguish between ants and grasshoppers. All it will do is means testing. That is, once someone shows up at the bureau’s door and proves he has no money, the inquiry stops. The bureaucracy won’t and can’t take the time to discover whether his money vanished because his employer laid him off (despite his being a good worker) and his kid has a horrible disease, or if his money vanished because he’s an unemployable flake who can’t be bothered to hold down a job, but who still likes living the high life. We pay for them all. But to the extent we do pay for them all, I want to be damn sure that every new government program is carefully crafted to pay for extremely limited services and that it is set up, as much as possible, to help the Ants, while shutting the door on those damn Grasshoppers. S-CHIP, which is casting an ever wider net of those for whom the taxpayers must pay is the antithesis of what an Ant-oriented government program should be.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has more on the Frost family (the S-CHIP family), in which a neighbor makes it plain that they are the ultimate Grasshoppers — although it appears that they are Ant enough, after having lived the high life, to rouse themselves to milk the system for their benefit.

UPDATE II:  Leave it to Mark Steyn to distill the Grasshopper lifestyle into a few pithy phrases:

At which point should the government pick up the tab? Ultimately it’s a reductive notion of liberty to say a free-born citizen can choose his own breakfast cereal and DVD rentals and cable package and, in the case of the Frosts, three premium vehicles, but demand the government take responsibility for all the grown-up stuff.

Non-contributing immigrants

Here in America, we are (rightly) unhappy about illegal immigrants who instantly sign up for all the welfare benefits they can get. Of course, they’d be stupid not to, because only a fool says no to free money. Also, I don’t think any of us doubt that the immigrants who come here, legal or illegal, mostly work and they work hard. After all, it’s the meat packing business and agribusiness who are most aggressive in encouraging immigration, legal or illegal, because these are the people who fill their factories and their fields.

Britain has the same thing: most immigrants work (in fact, they work more than the British themselves), but large numbers of them do sign up for the dole. In that, they’re just like American immigrants.  What’s really interesting in Britain, though, and quite different from the situation here, is that the immigrants who make the greatest demands on welfare are Muslims:

Labour’s favourite thinktank yesterday named the migrant groups which are a drain on the taxpayer.

Immigrants from Somalia, Turkey, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Iran are most likely to be out of work and claiming state benefits, it said.

There tend to be high numbers of asylum seekers among those groups who have failed to take advantage of the opportunities offered by Britain’s open economy, a study found.

It’s important to remember that the study does not say that all Muslims in Britain are on the dole. It does say, though, that, of all immigrants who arrived in the UK and get on the dole, it’s the Muslim immigrants who suck up welfare in disproportionate numbers.

Right about now, you’re shrugging your shoulders and asking, “so what?”  Every country has its people who need, use, or abuse welfare, and in Britain its Muslims.  To single them out sounds nothing more than homophobic.  True, except for one weird unique wrinkle about Muslims when it comes to welfare in Western countries, something that’s summed up in a single word:  jizya.

You don’t know what jizya is? Mark Steyn defines it:

The jizya is the poll tax paid by non-Muslims to their Muslim betters. One cause of the lack of economic innovation in the Islamic world is that they’ve always placed the main funding burden of society on infidels. This goes back to Mohammed’s day. If you take a bunch of warring Arab tribes and unite them as one umma under Allah, one drawback is that you close off a prime source of revenue — fighting each other and then stealing each other’s stuff. That’s why the Prophet, while hardly in a position to deny Islam to those who wished to sign up, was relatively relaxed about the presence of non-Muslim peoples within Muslim lands: they were a revenue stream. If one looks at the comparative dissemination patterns, Christianity spread by acquiring believers and then land; Islam spread by acquiring land and then believers. When Islam conquered infidel territory, it set in motion a massive transfer of wealth, enacting punitive taxation to transfer money from non-believers to Muslims — or from the productive part of the economy to the non-productive. It was, in its way, a prototype welfare society. When admirers talk up Islam and the great innovations and rich culture of its heyday, they forget that even at its height Muslims were never more than a minority of the Muslim world, and they were in large part living off the energy of others. That’s still a useful rule of thumb: if you take the least worst Muslim societies, the reason for the dynamism often lies with whichever group they share the turf with — the Chinese in Malaysia, for example.

(Mark Steyn, America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It, p. 164.)

Both Bruce Bawer’s While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within and Melanie Phillips’ Londonistan, make the point that welfare fraud is an Islamist speciality, not just to avoid work, but because the Islamists believe welfare paid for by the Christians around them is their due. That is, they differ from the usual welfare scammer who just wants free money. These are people who believe that they are using Europe’s and Britain’s own welfare systems to recreate the poll tax that non-Muslims are obligated to pay their Muslim superiors.  For this reason, they never have a desire to get off welfare — something especially true given that welfare benefits are so generous, and fraud so endemic, that some of the more adept users are bringing in six figure incomes.

Hat tip: RD, UP Pompeii

Envisioning a new world

It was always the Left that had a lock on envisioning a new world order, while the Right stood there, desperately trying to maintain the status quo. That, of course, is no longer the case. The Left is mired in the 1960s, and the Right is trying to rejigger the world, for better or for worse. Jonah Goldberg, in discussing this reality, brings to my attention a Charles Murray idea for doing away with the entire welfare state, freeing up lots of capital and, most importantly, getting the government out of the business of babying people. (And we know from Germany and France that, not only does government do a lousy job at babying people, it also destroys the people's collective backbone in the process.) Anyway, here's Goldberg:

So where are the real radicals today? Who are the folks who want to rethink the status quo and truly liberate the masses? Pretty much where they've always been: on the libertarian right. Witness Charles Murray's exciting new book, "In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State." It's an elegant little tract that makes a sustained, sober and fact-driven case for scrapping the whole calcified edifice of the welfare state.

Under Murray's plan, all transfer payments would vanish, from Social Security and Medicare to corporate welfare and agricultural subsidies. In exchange, every low-income American over the age of 21 and not in jail would get $10,000 a year from the government. And everybody else would still get at least $5,000 a year from Uncle Sam. The only hitch is that people would be required to take out a minimal health insurance policy, and the tax code would stop favoring companies that offer health insurance.

In a flash, the working poor would be richer. Work even for a half a year at minimum wage, and the extra $10k would put you above the poverty line. The whole bloated, nannying welfare state would be a memory. Market forces would finally be introduced to the health insurance industry, driving down the absurdly high price of healthcare. Women who choose not to work so they can raise their kids would get the full $10,000 no matter how much their husbands earned, supporting families more than the current system and with less paperwork. Charities and local communities would be revitalized, enjoying a flexibility denied to traditional bureaucrats. Those who wanted to walk on the wild side would get pocket change to do so but would have to live with the consequences. The old problem of subsidizing out-of-wedlock birth would become an anachronism.

Obviously, removing all government safeguards, particularly for the severely disabled, is hardly going to satisfy everyone. But at least Murray is thinking big, while liberals scoff at the idea that the welfare state isn't permanent. And that's the point. The liberal imagination is weighed down by the leaden status quo.

For all that they scoff at the rich and money generally, the Left's solution to every problem is to throw money at it. Bad schools? Throw money at them. Crumbling health care system? Throw money at it. Intractable homeless problems? Yup, more money. The collapse of black families? More welfare. And the Lefties are utterly undeterred by the fact that, after almost 40 years of this, with more and more money pumped into these systems, the systems are getting worse, not better. If the social welfare system were a house, it would be a tear-down.

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