TriggerFinger


Entitlement


Even $5 a month is too much for the poor to pay for cell phone service:
Cell phone service, an almost unobtainable luxury a quarter of a century ago, has now become an entitlement that the poor should not be forced to go without. Charging poor people even $5 a month for one is, apparently, a large enough burden that the charge was struck down be a federal judge. The article notes that about 14 million households receive this federal entitlement. With about 116 million households in the US, that is about 12% of all US households.

The judge may well be right on the law. I can't say. But as a matter of principle, the result is absurd. If this is the result the law demands, change the law. There is no such thing as a free lunch, and perpetuating the myth that there can be a free lunch only makes things worse. If the poor need help, that's one thing. But "help" does not mean "completely free". Oleg Volk has some provocative and relevant thoughts:

Humans have long tried to domesticate other humans. Sometimes the control is almost total (North Korea), at other times bread and circuses or dole/welfare payments were provided in exchange for votes. Individuals from a single dependent generation could transition back into independence, but after several generations of welfare culture, the results appear to resemble feral rather than wild (independent) specimens. Completely dependent people lose the ability to think or to show initiative for lack of need. The inefficiency of the welfare bureaucracy may have been a saving factor that required some ability just to navigate the system. A more perfect system of distributing resources for nothing will likely produce even less capable and more perpetually dependent clients. Would increasing numbers in themselves indicate evolutionary success of those people who succeed in becoming domesticated by others? They are generally safe from the cannibal pot, and even from such tasks as conscription as their labor becomes closer to worthless.

Every single human being needs to provide for themselves through work of some sort -- even if it is only symbolic. If humans can acquire the basic necessities of life without working or only working occasionally at low-skill jobs, many of them will learn to put forth exactly the minimum amount of effort required and nothing more. And if they learn they can vote for politicians who will enable this behavior by taking more and more from the productive citizens, or borrowing endlessly in a way that will create a financial disaster, that's what they will do. Down that path lies societal collapse, dystopia, or both.

And Obama has his foot on the gas:
The nation's long-term unemployed will be cut off from federal unemployment benefits on Saturday, even as President Obama offers his support to two senators proposing to extend expiring federal jobless aid.

Taking money from the productive and giving it to the non-productive actually discourages economic activity. The people receiving the benefits don't have to find work, and the people working see less of the benefits from their efforts.

This entry was published Tue Jan 07 13:26:25 CST 2014 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2014-01-07 13:26:25.0. [Tweet]

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