Saturday, December 31, 2022

The welfare state has gotten even more insane

The welfare state has gotten even more insane

Tom Knighton

There are a lot of people who disagree about what many of us term “the welfare state.” Many argue that we, as a society, have an obligation to help those who are less fortunate than others. Others respond that such a role should be filled by private charity, not the state.

Regardless of where you sit on that spectrum, though, we can all agree that the purpose of welfare programs is to help people get through lean times. We may disagree as to just how long those lean times should last, but most of us agree that it shouldn’t be a way of life.

Yet, as my friend Brad Polumbo noted over at Based-Politics as a Christmas bombshell in a discussion about the labor shortage, there’s a reason some people may have a reason they’re not interested in working.

Well, the astoundingly bloated nature of America’s welfare state offers one explanation, according to a new study . Conservative economists Stephen Moore, E.J. Antoni, and Casey Mulligan of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity analyzed what a typical four-person family, with two nonworking adults, could receive in welfare benefits, including both unemployment and healthcare subsidies, across the 50 states.

They found that in three states, Washington, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, this typical family can earn the equivalent of more than $100,000 annually without working, thanks to various government programs.

Meanwhile, in 14 states the benefits are equivalent to an $80,000 annual salary or more. In these states, welfare pays better than the typical job of a secondary school teacher or electrician, according to the study. In 24 states, languishing on welfare pays better than the typical salary earned by a firefighter, truck driver, or machinist.

Well, that doesn’t piss me off or anything.

Look, my work life looks different than a lot of people’s, but I still bust my butt. I don’t make anything close to $80,000 a year, and that’s while working various body parts off.

In fact, I’ve noted that thanks to inflation, things have been pretty tough for me. They still are and are likely to be for a good long while. I’ve managed to stay afloat through a bit of generosity, sure, but also a good bit of hard work.

And I’m glad that I have worked hard because it matters.

Yet it’s also hard for me to blame anyone that can make that kind of money doing absolutely nothing.

Let’s keep in mind that this firmly places these welfare recipients in the middle class. This is the class where people don’t just have their needs met, but can also enjoy a fair bit of luxury, and taxpayers are funding this kind of lifestyle in a number of states.


And yeah, I’m more than a little resentful. I’m pissed that I’m sitting here, working my butt to the proverbial bone, and these people are sitting there not doing a damn thing and making pretty good money for it.

There’s nothing right about that, especially when you consider that this money is coming from hardworking men and women, taxed so the government could then give it to people who aren’t doing anything to justify it.

Or, conversely, that money is coming from debt, which means hardworking men and women will be paying for that, plus the interest that’s accumulated.

That’s not any better.

Now, Brad points out that there’s likely more going on with the labor shortage than just that, and I agree, but I still can’t get past seeing that people are being handed that kind of money while producing nothing of value except converting oxygen into carbon dioxide.

And this is why I can never get behind the idea that government must provide welfare. There’s no way a private charity would support someone to that degree without them doing much of anything for it. It just wouldn’t happen.

It damn sure shouldn’t, that’s for sure.


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