Welfare-police state

Sep 052012

The Mickey Kaus article from which the below quote was taken reminds me that if anything radicalized me in the 70s, it was the efforts to get our family on welfare. I was a grad student and we were living on little money. Nobody was starving at our house, but there were suggestions that we should apply for food stamps. I found that extremely offensive, and still boil when I think about it. And I boil when I see welfare pimps go out and hunt down others people who are not on welfare roles, trying to get them enrolled. I favor the social safety net and welfare programs for those who truly need it, but attempts like this to nudge people onto welfare and dependency are about as pure evil as you’ll find in politics.

But Robert Rector, a welfare reform zealot who nevertheless does know what he’s talking about, has now published a longer analysis of the 20% rule. Turns out it’s not as big a scam as I’d thought it was. It’s a much bigger scam. For one thing, anything states do to increase the number of people on welfare will automatically increase the “exit” rate–what the 20% rule measures–since the more people going on welfare, the more people leave welfare for jobs in the natural course of things, without the state’s welfare bureaucrats doing anything at all. Raise caseloads by 20% and Sebelius’ standard will probably be met. Maybe raise caseloads 30% just to be sure. So what looks like a tough get-to-work incentive is actually a paleoliberal “first-get-on-welfare” incentive. But the point of welfare reform isn’t to get more people onto welfare.

via Credulous fact-checkers fall for 20% scam | The Daily Caller.

Sep 212009

I posted the following comment on Banion King’s blog at SCSU Scholars:

I used to hear that kind of talk a lot back in the 1960s about how private charity was demeaning. But now that we have govt entitlements, note what happens when recipients show something less than fulsome gratitude toward the government. See Clarence Thomas, for example. Or the townhall protestors who accept Medicare but who speak ill of government involvement in health care. The left treats them as a pimp treats a prostitute who tries to get free of his control.

It was in response to an article that included the following passage:

What caught my eye was this passage:

Bachmann’s assumption that the poor should be happy in their hearts to rely on religious charity is simply laughable.

It ignores the fact that, to many people, charity is ingratiating — and it is always undependable and inconsistent.

Is it really such a beautiful thing that a family trying to treat a member’s terminal illness is ingratiated to begging money off “the generous public” at car washes and charity suppers?

Now a woman who’s studied “feminist rhetoric”, whatever that is, didn’t use the same word “ingratiate” twice without a reason. What would be her reason? The word “ingratiate” simply means to bring someone into the good graces of another, most often yourself. Its etymology contains the Latin word “gratia” for “favor, grace.” So shall I understand that this woman believes you should be able to get something from another without exchanging anything in return? What does she want in lieu of gratitude?

Mar 182009

I hope the Animal Services and Enforcement Director in Kalamazoo County doesn’t hear about this. Or if he does, I hope he doesn’t like it.

Just because an impoverished cat owner in Belarus sends the animal out to beg money for its own upkeep doesn’t mean the impoverished horse owners in Kalamazoo County should do that, does it? Because if that’s allowed, it might argue against the idea that leftish people now owe the rest of us support money for our upkeep.

Dec 062008

Don Boudreaux of Cafe Hayek makes the case for layoffs on NPR’s Planet Money. More specifically, he explains how restrictive labor laws that make it harder to fire employees or lay them off also make it too expensive and too risky to hire employees in the first place. If there is anyone unfamiliar with that argument, now there is no excuse not to get familiar with it.

I certainly buy it, but there is also the matter of making it politically palatible. Too many libertarians make the argument, which is fine as far as it goes. But they don’t go the next step, which is to argue that we need to make an economy in which job loss is not so devastating, in which people can pick up and carry on.

The left of course has its own ideas on how to do that, mainly through social-welfare programs. There is a place for their safety nets — I for one would not advocate abolishing them — but the way they’re usually implemented makes them more like a trawler net than a safety net. And of course the motives of the left are less than pure when it comes to these things. Leftish minds concentrate wonderfully when it comes to designing programs to grow the government and make people dependent on their tender mercies. They go blank when it comes to ways to allow people to maintain their dignity and make their own choices.

Here are a few areas in which conservatives, libertarians, and non-leftish liberals could make a society in which job loss would not be so terrible:

  • Remove zoning regulations that make it hard for laid-off workers to start their own home-based businesses.
  • Remove the type of small-business regulation that almost requires specialists to deal with — including the kind of time-consuming, mind-numbing paperwork and kissing up to government officials that is so distasteful for independent-minded people. Again, this is so people can run their own businesses on the side or to provide an outlet when jobs are lost elsewhere.
  • Income tax cuts
  • Change the tax laws to foster portable benefits programs. And yes, maybe there is a place for a greater government role in paying for catastrophic or chronic health care (which could be done while reducing government involvement in other health care).
  • Property tax cuts
  • Change the tax laws that encourage people to get up to their eyeballs in debt, and instead make it worthwhile for them to save for a rainy day.

There are others that might come under the category of “A more equal capitalism” but I’ll stop here for now.

Oct 172008

Before getting to Joe Plumber, let me point out that I didn’t watch the debate. I haven’t watched a presidential debate since Lieberman vs Cheney, and the last one before that was probably Bush the First vs Dukakis. I prefer to watch the post-debate spin. Wasting time on the actual debate would hinder me from concentrating on what’s important.

So here’s how the left-wing activist group Associated Press is trying to spin it in an article by John Seewer.

HOLLAND, Ohio (AP) — Joe the Plumber’s story sprang a few leaks Thursday. Turns out that the man who was held up by John McCain as the typical, hard-working American taxpayer isn’t really a licensed plumber. And court documents show he owes nearly $1,200 in back taxes.

It’s the typical government-centric point of view. A government-centric reporter defines a plumber as someone who has made proper obeisance to the ruling class so as to have been graciously granted the proper documents. A people-centric reporter would think of a plumber as someone who does plumbing work for other people who need to have such work done.

And the $1200 in back taxes? Doesn’t that help make McCain’s point?

If a person owes more money to the bank than his home is worth, the left holds that up as a failure of capitalism. They want the government to take over. But owing $1200 in back taxes is somehow not seen by these same people as a failure of big government.

Oct 122008

For a moment I thought Obama was showing signs of being something that people of the younger generations may have read about but have never seen: a liberal. It was when I saw the headline:

“Obama: ‘Subsidize’ Americans who can’t afford health insurance.”

That’s something I could support. Provide health care vouchers for the poorest of the poor. In itself it wouldn’t be enough to deal with the problem of people who have chronic, pre-existing conditions that would price anyone out of the health insurance market. But it could do a lot, and do it in a pro-choice way that would harness market forces to create better health care options for all of us.

But alas, that’s not what Obama meant. His is just another of the same-old, same-old leftwing fascist proposals. He can’t get out of the old ruts of the Democrat party. He does say some words about letting people choose, but the effect of his every proposal is to eliminate choice.

He wants to require insurers to cover pre-existing conditions. That is going to drive private health insurance prices way up and eliminate private insurance. It means we’ll all be in his government plan which is NOT an insurance plan in any meaning of the term, which means we’ll have more of the same social pathologies that are destroying the UK, the Netherlands, and other countries that have gone that route.

Obama claims to love markets, but in fact it’s quite the opposite. He adheres religiously to the first commandment of the leftwing catechism — a slight variation on Martin Luther’s version:

Thou shalt have no other gods before The Great God, The State.

What does this mean? We should fear, loathe, and mistrust markets and personal choice above all things.

Aug 072008

From a WSJ article about the comeback of the Children’s Railway in Hungary (aka the Pioneer Railway). It’s run by childen aged 10 to 14.

Fun wasn’t the goal in 1948, when the line was created by Stalinist apparatchiks to train future rail workers and instill political obedience in youths.

Say, what? Install political obedience in youths? Would a government on our planet ever do such a thing?

Well, maybe it would. After all, what’s the purpose of seat belt laws and mind-numbing safety warnings on anything you can buy at the hardware store if not to get people in the habit of letting the government decide these things.

But back in Stalin’s day, Hungarian kids who qualified got special perks with which to lord it over their peers, such as Coca-Cola to drink. In our country kids can buy their own Coca-Cola.

Well, maybe a better analogy than seat belt laws would be organizations such as the Peace Corps and Americorps. And then there is Obama’s plan to institute mandatory volunteering for young people. Maybe we’re not so different from Stalin’s Hungary, after all.

Jun 262008

Over at townhall.com there is an article by a Christopher Wills titled “Obama record shows a liberal open to compromise.”

And what are the examples of how Obama has ever been open to compromise and where he departed even a tiny bit from hardline left positions? There are none.

The only substantive examples show an unwillingness to compromise one iota, for example on abortion.

Towards the end of the article there is this statement: “While Obama could compromise on crime and gun control, he didn’t budge when it came to abortion.”

But examples of actual compromise on those issues are nowhere to be found. The article does tell us that Obama “worked with” the law enforcement community on some of their concerns. But what “concerns” those were is left unstated.

If you look at the actual record as described in that article, or anywhere else, you have a candidate who is uncompromising in his mission to grow the welfare-police state.

Jun 042008

Wow! Barak Obama really IS for change. He’s no different from the Clintons or Bush in that he, too, wants to nationalize and centralize our once-federated system of law enforcement. But he is different in how he’s going about it.

Back in the day, when Bill Clinton was president, he climbed into a church pulpit and proclaimed his Crime Bill to be the Will of God. He was trying to provide supplemental funding for local police departments. And funding of course gives control to the funder.

But according to this note in The Weekly Standard, (available only to subscribers), the “Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act,” which “would impose collective bargaining on all but the smallest local governments” would do it differently. Instead of giving money, it would impose federal control over employer-employee relations.

But the worst component of the bill is its insistence on federal authority over police and fire services. America has gone from being the most dangerous and fire-prone Western nation to one of the safest and most fire-free largely because its police and fire systems respond so well to local needs. The proposed new federal authority over police and fire labor relations opens the door to greater federal authority over every other aspect of public safety.

Here are a few links I found: