Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The inevitable result of the Welfare State?

A report from England perfectly illustrates the problem of a 'nanny State' that provides everything for its citizens.

Education Department figures show more than one million school-leavers, one in five, are classed as Neet – not in education, employment or training.

And more than 800,000 of them are capable of holding down a job – unhampered by disability, illness or child care.

Academics blame the trend on a ‘disenfranchised’ generation who would rather collect benefits than work in a menial job.

Tom Burkard, of the Centre for Policy Studies, said: ‘Our obsession with equality and extending university education has taken a heavy toll on our youth and destroyed a generation.

‘Anything but a middle-class job is denigrated. It’s getting harder to convince these youngsters there’s any reason to work.’

. . .

Research shows Neets, on average, drink more, take more drugs and are significantly more likely to be involved in crime.

There's more at the link.

We have precisely the same problem here in the USA, even though our welfare system is organized differently to the UK. I've been in inner-city areas in at least a dozen US states, areas where the majority of the residents are on one or more forms of government assistance. D'you think they're in any way deprived or under-funded? Think again. It's astonishing how many families on welfare were driving new cars (and not just cheap cars - think Cadillac Escalades in large numbers!). They all had well-furnished homes, with flat-screen TV's (large ones), game consoles, new clothes, plenty of visible jewelry . . . yet social workers in the area told me without the trace of a smile on their faces that their 'clients' were 'living in poverty' and 'dependent on the government for survival'. It used to make me vaguely sick to my stomach, having seen what real poverty means in the Third World. In fact, many African families I've known would cheerfully commit mass murder in order to be able to live in the 'poverty' of which these US families complained!

The same applies to their 'job search' efforts. I've had more than a few of these people tell me, straight-faced, that 'they couldn't find a job commensurate with their qualifications'. Many of them had degrees (the educational value of which I found dubious in the extreme). When asked for more details, they'd turn out to have majored in 'women's studies', or 'African-American studies', or sociology, or anthropology, and so on . . . never in anything that was actually in demand in the commercial world. When I asked them (as I usually did) why they hadn't chosen to study something more 'marketable', they typically became indignant. It was their right to study what they chose, and employers were unreasonable (to put it mildly) for not appreciating their qualities as human beings. Why couldn't a company wanting technicians or sales personnel recognize that a BA in woman's studies was just as good as any business qualification? It wasn't that they'd made poor career choices - rather, companies were discriminating against them! It was racism and sexism, that's what it was!

I could never get through to these people that they should accept any job that came along in order to support themselves. They literally couldn't see that point at all. If they needed something, and didn't have a job that would let them earn enough to buy it, then someone else owed it to them, and they were going to kick and scream and protest until it was provided. They couldn't even begin to identify with people in the Third World who would accept menial and undesirable jobs in order to earn bread for their families. Instead, when confronted with such examples, they dismissed those workers as 'suckers' who let others take advantage of them. Why didn't they mount protests in the streets to force their governments to feed, clothe and house them? These were basic human rights, after all!


I just couldn't get through to these people at all. If I tried to argue that food, clothing and shelter were not rights, but things that had to be earned, they regarded me with either horror (for being such a fascist) or disdain (for being so ignorant). They were quite content to live from day to day, drawing their government support, never bothering to look for any kind of a job that didn't gratify their self-image or meet their demands. They were utterly dependent on their State-provided safety net . . . and those who provided it were just as dependent on them, in a sense. Their votes kept in power the politicians who handed out government largesse. Neither group could exist, or sustain their present lifestyles, without the other; and both groups leeched on and drained resources from other, more productive elements in society, regarding it as their absolute right to do so.

Sounds like a recipe for long-term social disaster to me . . . whether here, or in the UK, or anywhere else.



Shrimp said...

I've often said (and been chastised for saying it) that .gov has absolutely no business in doling out welfare, charity, money or support to anyone or any group. None, nada, nothing, no how!

That's what charities and churches are for. I think a decent percentage of our tax money could be saved by completely killing all welfare programs today, right now. Not one more dime to anyone for any reason.

Oh, there'd be some wailing and whining and gnashing of teeth, I'm sure. But once they realized the free ride was over, they'd get off their lazy butts and get to work.

As an aside, did you know that they don't teach the part about Capt. John Smith's famous decree "If you don't work, you don't eat," in schools anymore? I wonder why....

perlhaqr said...

Shrimp: I dunno how much "human welfare" costs the taxpayers each year, but I know we could have collectively saved a trillion dollars by not giving welfare to GM, Bear and Stearns, etc.

I say go for it. I know I'll be a lot more likely to donate to charity when the gov't isn't already extracting "charity" from me at gunpoint.

Phillip said...

I just fear for the day when the checks don't come, whether from some terrorist act, collapse of the government, or weather event.

I live in FL, and only about a mile away are two of the larger housing projects in the area. These places are known for drug and crime activity normally, what happens when there's no government assistance coming in?

My wife sometimes wonders why I keep buying bullets that I don't immediately shoot... but I've seen the craziness things like Katrina bring.

SiGraybeard said...

The worst word ever to come out of the Fed.gov is "entitlement". I'll bet it has destroyed more lives than all the diseases of the modern world combined.

That feeling of entitlement is dooming the NEETS and the countries supporting them - ours included!