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Diverting the Main Stream

Welfare Chiselers

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There is a common misconception that the U.S. is bursting at the seams with deadbeats who want free money from the government and refuse to work, have children in order to get more food stamps, and live like kings on welfare. Now I don’t have any numbers on this, but I’ve known a lot of relatively poor people and I’ve never met one who liked it.

Looking for a job is hard work. Not only is it time-consuming, it is also extremely difficult emotionally. The lower your value as an employee, be it for lack of education or experience or for an employer-friendly job market, the more difficult it is. Your value as an employee can affect you emotionally, especially when you receive multiple rejections. Seeing hundreds of other people interviewing for the same jobs you are soliciting can make you feel like there’s no hope. And it is true that some people give up. It may even be true that a rare few come to accept and be happy with receiving the barest living in poor conditions with beer and cigarettes their only luxury and not working, but this is an adaptation to a system which doesn’t have a place for them. This isn’t anyone’s ambition.

Finding a job on your own is hard enough, but imagine trying to find work as a single parent. Looking for work is a full-time job, and if you don’t have a job you can’t afford day care while you look for one. So people end up feeling trapped in their houses, taking care of their children and unable to look for work. And if they raise their children well, it’s probably more important that they be with them than that they work, out of principle, without improving their lives by doing so, simply to avoid being on welfare.

The idea that people need to work in order to contribute to society is very prominent, even among those who cannot find work. Yet the concept that not working is immoral hasn’t been applied to those who do not work because they are financially independent. I will grant that even among the wealthy people tend to want to create projects, and some work very hard, but they certainly don’t have the same obligations as the average American worker, with the luxury of taking vacations anytime they want and setting their own hours. Not all financially independent people work, or spend as many years working as other people, and they can retire at any time. They don’t all work, and nobody says they’re not contributing to society. The idea that people have to work hard to get what they want, or to earn their living, does not seem to apply to everyone.

So if the concept that people have to earn their way through life is true, why are we not upset at people who live off of the success of their parents? If a single parent doesn’t work, or if a parent whose partner doesn’t make enough money doesn’t work, they are seen as bums if they take government assistance, while non-working parents whose partners make enough money to support them are seen as valuable members of society.

People who cant make enough money for their families are seen as lazy; if they worked harder they would have more money. Yet poor people often work harder jobs for more hours, or multiple jobs, and live a harder life with more stress and fewer commodities. It is unacceptable to say that poor people are lazy, when rich people have more commodities at home, hire servants, and do not rely on manual labor to survive. In an economic system in which there are a limited number of jobs for which workers must compete, why do we look down on those who don’t make it? If there are fewer available jobs than workers, someone will be left out. This is a reality that has nothing to do with laziness… perhaps they are, or are more importantly perceived as, less qualified for certain jobs, but they still have the right to live in the U.S. Starving them to death will not make them more qualified or make it easier for them to find work.

The purpose of government is to provide order and be the final mediator among the people, and to ensure their well-being when they cannot. Helping a business make money is not a contribution to society, only to that business and, if they are paid, to the workers. If these opportunities are not available to all people, the government must help them – it is their duty to do so. Be it through voluntary work placement programs, paid job training programs, or simply welfare, the government must see to it that all of its people are living in decent conditions with food and other basic necessities available. In doing so they should take into account factors which are more important for society than for business, for example, parents of children who are under school age should have the option of staying home to take care of them regardless of their marital status or financial situation.

Just because a few people take advantage of welfare programs because they’ve given up hope to improve their lives does not make them any less vital to many Americans’ basic survival. It’s not the rampant problem opponents of social programs make it out to be, and you don’t dismantle an important system just because a few people misuse it. In a system in which there are not enough jobs for the people who need them and no other way to survive than to work, it is the duty of government to help the people who are left out to live in decent conditions. This must be paid for by tax money taken from the people and businesses who are succeeding through this system; they are wealthy due to the United States’ open policies on business and can afford to help the people who are left out of what is essentially their economic system. This is not a Communistic ideal, it is the most basic humanity and the duty and purpose of government: if the government does not protect its people from harm, protect their rights, provide justice, and help those of its citizens who are in need, it has no right to exist and no inherent sovereignty save through violence or the complacence of its people.

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Written by Alex (Capitalocracy)

August 4, 2008 at 1:24 am

Posted in Opinion

Tagged with , , , , ,

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