If you earned more for not working than for working, would you work? Many years ago the author of what has been called the most purchased book on Economics, Progress and Poverty, Henry George made the following point: Man wants to gain the greatest benefit for the least amount of effort.
Whether you agree with that statement or not, this basic tendency of human beings is what has driven progress towards the reduction of labor through the use of tools, machinery and innovation. Let’s be honest, most of us would rather spend our time as we choose, doing what we want while still living a comfortable existence. Not everyone of course, but most of us.
So it should not be any surprise when the Cato Institute came out with its conclusions in its latest report, Work Versus Welfare Trade-Off: 2013. Cato has been doing these reports since 1995 so it has had some time to refine its findings.
Here are some of the startling findings:
Some welfare recipients have higher incomes than those in the private sector working for a living. For example, a mother with 2 children in New York is able to collect $38,004 per year in welfare handouts. This exceeds the starting salary of a teacher in the state.
However, the problem is not isolated to New York. In Hawaii, the most generous with benefits, a mother of 2 is eligible to earn $60,590 a year! Over $60,000 a year! That is astounding. Heck, both my son and I work our butts off in demanding skilled positions as does my daughter and none of us earn that much.
In fact, the study showed that in 33 states, welfare recipients earn more than they would than if they worked at a job that paid $8 an hour. In 12 of those states, recipients make more than they would than if they worked at a $12 an hour job.
Now based on the law that Henry George stated above that people want to gain the greatest benefit for the least amount of effort, where is the incentive to work?
The fact is people aren’t lazy so much as they are not stupid. Heck if you can earn as much or even more for not working, quite a few of us would simply choose not to work.
The Downside for Society
There is a problem for society however. According to the Congressional Research Service report to the Senate Budget Committee in the most recent year for which data is available (2011), 83 overlapping federal welfare programs represented the single largest Federal budget item. The total amount spent on these items was roughly $1.03 Trillion. Yes, that is Trillion with a T.
Since 2008, the total federal share of spending on these programs is up 32%. It now makes up 21% of federal outlays which is more than Social Security, Medicare or even defense.
The 10 largest of the 83 programs (which account for the bulk of federal welfare spending) has doubled as a share of the federal budget in the last 30 years. In inflation adjusted dollars, the amount expended on these programs has increased by 378% over that same time period.
Like the often paraphrased statement of Margaret Thatcher, the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money. With a nearly $17 Trillion national debt which is already astronomical, this does not point to a rosy future for this nation.
The government is using that growing debt produced largely out of thin air by the Federal Reserve cartel to turn this nation into a nation of takers rather than producers.
Don’t Buy the Government Recovery Hype
Things are getting scary folks. Think of what could happen when all these bird feeders get suddenly taken away after the dollar collapses. As in Greece, we’re going to have some pretty angry birds flying around. I for one am not looking forward to that day. Perhaps that is why if you pay attention as I have, you will notice an increased police presence without a subsequent rise in active criminal behavior.
Think the puppet masters pulling the strings may know something is afoot? I think the reports above would confirm that conclusion especially if you understand how all unbacked currencies have always ended. Things could get very ugly, very quickly methinks. Stay alert and prepare please. Thank you.