"Ye shall have the poor with you always" - Granite Grok

“Ye shall have the poor with you always”

If You Don’t Work, You Die

I was reading a Nero Wolfe book the other day and there is a man we’re obviously supposed to dislike going on about how it’s stupid to try to feed all the hungry in the world. It puzzled me how this could be even disputed, much less a bad opinion. Given the different kleptocratic kakistocracies around the world, trying to feed all the poor is in fact to support dictators and evil men. Trying to feed individual, targeted poor is different, but then you can’t feed “all the poor in the world.” Of course, this was a time when the power of governmental organization and “scientific governance” were considered forces for good…

Indeed.  I do believe that most of the world’s poor ARE poor not because of themselves but because of bad government – incompetent at best and at worst, evil and tyrannical.

Food comes into warehouses but ends up rotting from bad logistics stemming from bad policies from their government.  You can’t feed people, no matter how large the generosity of foreigners, if what has been donated can’t make it ‘the last mile’.  Or is pilfered, stolen, or otherwise “diverted” with mal-intent for purposes of individual gain – or decreased by having to give some as bribes along the way.  This speaks to the lack of The Rule of Law and disrespect of The Right To Private Property – both hallmarks of good governance and whose absence means a “short, brutish life” for those unlucky residents.

But then there is the flip side – a Government who works hard to feed all but ends up creating disincentives for even more important items: self-sufficiency is crowded out by Government “help”:

…In fact, it is normally the governments who ignore the gods of the copybook headings and decide everyone must eat, whether they work or not, who bring that sort of ruin and famine to their people.

There is a reason for this. It is fashionable in the US to talk about people who are on welfare and don’t work. That is not precisely true. Yes, there are people on welfare who neither have a regular job nor look for one. But what might not be understood is that these people are working: they are navigating the labyrinthine bureaucracy and making sure they meet all the guidelines to keep the money flowing. That is work. It is just not productive work. It is a work that is the result of perverse incentives. These people have become convinced that’s the only thing they can do to survive – so they do it. And the government functionaries who derive power from their “service” want as many of them as possible under their sway. So they teach more people how to work at getting money for “free”. And they put more barriers in the way of those ever wanting to leave that condition.

I saw this up close and personal and have mentioned this many times – the young single mothers yakking in the lobby of our daycare swapping stories about how to get more for “free”.  Very few understood that nothing was for free – they cared not a whit that others lost for them to gain (Yes, and didn’t understand that their time was actually worth more than ‘free’ as well).  I would remark upon this and just get that cross-eyed stare.  Of course, having overheard that their erstwhile boyfriends were back home drinking in the garage, I’d ask about them as well (as in “find a job yet?” knowing it was against the Welfare rules for the men to be sucking off their teat while they were on the Welfare State’s).  Then they’d turn and go all “harpy” on me, in how dare I who had a job AND a business could ask such a question.  Of COURSE they were entitled to having the State support them and their kids’ daycare costs – they just HAD to be home with their little ones.

And then I saw my wife, who obviously worked at our daycare, walking up the hallway toward the lobby with our (at the time) little ones.  I’d look at her, then look at these  “ladies” full of entitlement attitude and indignation that anyone would question them that others were supporting them; I never knew if any of them ever got the message.

Yes, a Welfare State breeds selfishness – how do I get more?  Very seldom did I hear “how do I get out of this?”.  Sympathy?  Yes – some, as there were more hoops into which to jump through to get their entitlements.  If only that effort had been turned around from earning their dependency into winning their independence!

Yet, that seems to be the goal of the Obama Administration – success if not measured by the number of people earning and having successful lives but the numbers of people whom they help.  Never, in the latter scenario, is it mentioned or used as a ‘quality measure’, is the question “for how long?”  THAT is the proper question that most of us ask.  However, in the eyes of Statists / Progressives, one can never question the motives of their policies and whether they are doing right or wrong – it is only intentions that count (and not the actual outcomes).  To do so is to draw the wrath of Cultural Marxism (e.g., political correctness) down upon one’s heads  in their attempt to cover for the inability of their efforts – rather freeing others, they “keep” them.

(H/T: According to Sarah Hoyt via Instapundit)