What is it with Republicans? Are we not capable of thinking things out? Are we like Charlie Brown? Every time Lucy puts the football down, we run towards it to kick it only to have her pull it away. Are we really that dumb?
When are we going to quit playing the left’s game?
Back in January, when Mitch Daniels gave the response to the State of the Union speech, he had to lament about the need to “restore the safety net.”
The so-called safety net is the welfare state. The welfare state has been an abject failure, except for liberals who want to create dependent classes. They create those permanently in poverty who need welfare and the create bureaucrats who owe their jobs to the Party of Treason.
The welfare state arose out of Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty. If the war on poverty were a real war, we would be breaking out John Boehner’s freshly laundered white flag of surrender. If it were a real war, we would be asking poverty for the terms of our surrender.
Of course asking liberals to think is asking too much. For example, what did we do before the “safety net?” The answer is simple. Liberals don’t want us to think about hit. They want us to have some vague idea that America looked like some third world country with children starving in the streets.
What really happened back then is that when the hard times hit, people went to their families, their friends and their churches for help. Private charities helped people.
The left hates private charity because private charities are not a part of the government, are efficient and do not create a dependent class.
Can you imagine for a moment what would happen if we abolished the so-called safety net?
For one thing, endless welfare and the welfare class would be abolished. As a practical matter, the “safety net” would be administered by private charities.
What would that mean? For one thing it would mean money spent for the “safety Net” would be spent in a much more efficient manner. Welfare fraud would end. People would not be starving in the streets. In fact, those people who are deadbeats would not be able to mooch off of the American taxpayer.
We could dismantle huge sectors of the federal government because they would not be needed.
The welfare state has done nothing but perpetuate poverty. It is not a solution. It is the problem.
Why we Conservatives simply go along with liberals calling it a “safety net” is simply beyond belief. It is not a “safety net.” It is a welfare trap. It sucks people into the welfare system and does everything possible to keep them there.
Why we conservatives show this concept any respect is simply stunning. We need to call out this system for what it is. It is not a safety net. It is a trap that destroys people’s lives.
I want to see illegal's welfare stopped and I want to see welfare stopped. We are not doing those people any good by letting them depend upon the government for the dole.
Judson, I agree with you in principle, but I also don't think we'll ever completely demolish the welfare state in this country. Since the New Deal, Americans have reached a point in their citizen DNA where SOME help from the government is assumed, accepted, and expected. Which is why I so strongly support Milton Friedman's proposal for a negative income tax. I think it's an acceptable part of a free market economy, as well as being a pragmatic move towards a distant time when the welfare state in this country can be practically reduced to almost nothing.
To quote from the article in the above link:
Market forces can accomplish wonderful things, he realized, but they cannot ensure a distribution of income that enables all citizens to meet basic economic needs. His proposal, which he called the negative income tax, was to replace the multiplicity of existing welfare programs with a single cash transfer — say, $6,000 — to every citizen. A family of four with no market income would thus receive an annual payment from the I.R.S. of $24,000. For each dollar the family then earned, this payment would be reduced by some fraction — perhaps 50 percent. A family of four earning $12,000 a year, for example, would receive a net supplement of $18,000 (the initial $24,000 less the $6,000 tax on its earnings).
Mr. Friedman’s proposal was undoubtedly motivated in part by his concern for the welfare of the least fortunate. But he was above all a pragmatist, and he emphasized the superiority of the negative income tax over conventional welfare programs on purely practical grounds. If the main problem of the poor is that they have too little money, he reasoned, the simplest and cheapest solution is to give them some more. He saw no advantage in hiring armies of bureaucrats to dispense food stamps, energy stamps, day care stamps and rent subsidies.
It seems to me that, if you take the pragmatic view of weaning this country off of the welfare system, a program like the one above makes a lot of sense - and is much more palatable to the voting public than proposing the sudden demise of the entire safety net. We should decide to both MODIFY it, while WEANING Americans off of systems and programs they've known for decades; the market and tax advantages of the negative income tax - along with providing for those who simply can't, on their own, support themselves - is the best way to go.
Getting rid of things like food stamps and rent subsidies, and replacing them with a negative income tax that is alloted ON A SLIDING SCALE, DEPENDING ON OTHER SOURCES OF INCOME, sounds like a plan. And, to go even further than Friedman, I would pair the tax with a jobs/skills program - if you want the benefit, you HAVE to increase your skills, so that you can more quickly make more money, and position yourself to receive less and less from the government. We desperately need STEM workers in America - this is a perfect way to get them.
I agree with you NW Bill. You can just remove a motor and expect the car to continue to run. Systems in place have to be dismantled incrementally. It is our argument to the dependent class that reframes the question. By replacing liberty with fraternity, they have corrupted and distorted the meaning of liberty. Fraternity is a byproduct of Liberty, not a building block of liberty. We have to develop the frame of the question and provide the answer the same way the left does only in reasonable, incremental steps.
Reducing systems in place by replacing it with volunteer enterprise will make all the difference. Give them something to take away something, then like the babe on the breast, slowly wean. It is the the only way that will work.
Thanks for your thoughtfulness!
Won't work. Here's why. Folks receiving the "negative income tax" will view the reduction in their payment based on the amount earned elsewhere as a penalty and adjust their earnings accordingly or will simply earn money "under the table" to avoid the reduction.
The only solution I can see is a form of "workfare" during which the recipient receives training in one field or another for a limited period of time, as well as placement assistance, and is then cut off. None of this applies, of course, to those who are, for one reason or another, genuinely unable to earn a living.
Doug, you're right. That approach (training=>transition) was working in the 90s until the program was done away with later. http://www.tnr.com/search/apachesolr_search/%22welfare%20reform%22
I agree. Welfare and unemployment benefits should include training and education, as needed, so that people develop skills and a sense of pride and independence. We turn them into people without goals or a sense of satisfaction about themselves and ability. That will reduce these entitlements because it will be required and end their eligibility.
I think that a national sales tax is the answer. Everyone who buys anything would have to pay their sales tax. That way, people who normally slip under the radar like prostitutes, gamblers, gardners...any kind of purchses would have to pay their tax - no exceptions. The other alternative is the flat tax where there are no deductions and you pay a certain percentage of your earnings. For example, Russia has a flat tax. Initially, they had a system similar ours but when they went to a flat tax of 15%, the money going into the federal treasury was 500% more than it had been under he old system.
Doug, it looks like you didn't read the last part of my post, where I proposed pairing the NIT with a jobs/skills program. Personally, I don't believe in giving money to somebody for free; money is meant to be earned, and the NIT should be a part of that philosophy. If a family of four is in dire straits, the NIT would be a nice cushion .... UNTIL THEY GET BACK ON THEIR FEET. And, if the mother or father of that family has marketable skills, or has the ability to learn new skills - especially in areas of the economy like STEM, where they are really needed - then THEY SHOULD HAVE NO PROBLEM HAVING THE GOV'T TELL THEM THAT, IN ORDER TO RECEIVE THE NIT, THEY MUST ENROLL IN A JOBS/SKILLS PROGRAM, matched with their skill set, that will lessen their use of the NIT, and put them on a track where it's eventually not needed.
People who aren't willing to go along with the stipulations of the tax benefit are OUT ON THEIR EAR - PERIOD. If they complain, then the IRS is told that they opted out of the program willingly .... a decision which also bars them from other programs they'd normally have access to. The idea is to make it clear that there is no longer a free ride - we'll (the taxpayers) help you if you need it, but you gotta accept the strings. If you don't, then why should you receive free help .... especially if you're capable - but not willing - to contribute or work for it?
And for those who are TRULY disabled (and, guess what? I would also require two INDEPENDENT medical evals to prove it) or otherwise not able to work, then, sure ... let's help them. But, NOT DIRECTLY - any help would be in the form of the gov't assisting private or church-based assistance programs (food banks, rent assistance, etc.). NO ONE GETS A CHECK DIRECTLY FROM THE GOVERNMENT ANYMORE, UNLESS YOU'RE IN THE FULL-BLOWN NIT PROGRAM. Otherwise, you truly will be "on your own", because you've made the conscious decision to not follow the rules. Period.
Carol's link demonstrates that this kind of tactic has worked before - the REAL issue is that liberals will use the brush of class warfare to twist this proposal into a conservative war against the poor, or whatever. But THIS HAS BEEN DONE BEFORE, IN A SOMEWHAT SIMILAR FASHION ... AND IT'S WORKED. So, let's deal with the evidence before us, without throwing the baby AND the bathwater out, ok?
Take a look at this video on Youtube to get an idea of how something like this would work (and keep in mind that a program like this would be tweaked and altered WAY before it goes to the voters, so very little - except for the basics - would be set in stone):
Why would they bother to work at all? Isn't this just the same principle as for people who work only enough so as not to lose their unemployment and other benefits?
I remember a man telling me that he could work 5 days a week but accepted the job for only 3 because he would have to move out of the government sponsored apartment (with linolem floors).
Poverty is not a financial problem, it is an economics problem. Financial means may be somewhat effective for applying superficial financial bandaids but they are ineffective as solutions for economic problems.
Just as cold is the absence of heat and dark is the absence of light, poverty is the absence of prosperity. Prosperity does not just exists as a part of the universal ether: For prosperity to exist it must be produced and it must be produced in the form of items that have material worth. Printing and distributing fiat currency in greater and greater amounts does nothing beyond socializing and redistributing the hardships of poverty and economic hardship.
It is economic hardship and poverty, not prosperity, that is being redistributed and socialized by the strangely named "War on Poverty" which "our" federal government declared almost a half century ago and then loaded up and opened fire on the most diverse, most robust and most prosperous national economy that had ever existed.
Sorry, I have to admit that the idea of a negative income tax is about as intelligent as giving someone just a gradually-decreasing dose of poison rather than the full dose they have been getting. Judson just got through correctly summarizing that the welfare/safety net is harmful to people. What kind of logical solution would take the namby pamby approach of just decreasing the harm to a lesser level? If you believe something is bad for people, quit swallowing your morals in the name of some kind of politically-correct scheme that only an elitist would love. Get government out of attempting to take care of people -- it doesn't work!