Monday, April 15, 2013

What's wrong with this picture?

I'm appalled and infuriated by an article in the Connecticut Post.  I'm not going to quote from it directly.  Briefly, it's a long, touchy-feely screed about a poor single mother in Greenwich, and how difficult it is for her to make ends meet (at the taxpayers' expense) in so wealthy a town.

I certainly have sympathy for those growing up in difficult circumstances, as this lady did:  but I'm not going to get all weepy about the consequences of her own bad choices.  She chose to drop out of school at 15, and give birth to her first child at 16.  She chose to enter into a subsequent relationship that produced three more children in four years.  She chose to take on tens of thousands of dollars in student debt while living this irresponsible lifestyle.  She chose to live in an expensive town, when there were more economical choices available.  She chose to drive her car while knowing little or nothing about maintaining it, until that her ignorance caused damage requiring expensive repairs.  She chose to kick her boyfriend out of their shared home, then quit her job to raise her kids - thereby burdening the taxpayer with even more costs resulting from her bad choices.

She gets $650 a month in food stamps, but "can't find her favorite potato chips at Whole Foods".  What the hell is she doing buying potato chips, or shopping at Whole Foods, in the first place?  I'm on a limited budget, too, and I only buy potato chips, or shop at upmarket, expensive stores like that, as an occasional treat.  I shop for most groceries at Aldi, which some look down upon as "a place where poorer people shop".  Guess what?  I'm not too proud to admit I'm not wealthy!  For someone on a limited budget, Aldi is a great place to get high-quality, low-cost food.  I make do with what I have.  Why can't this woman do likewise?

The most irritating thing about this article is its unspoken presumption that this woman deserves all the benefits she's getting from the taxpayer, and that those benefits (presumably) need to be increased until she has enough to get by.  Why should the taxpayer be burdened with the consequences of her bad choices?  If she expects this sort of support, why not make her work for it, eight hours a day, at something that needs doing - even if that's sweeping the streets or collecting garbage?  Even if she does that, it should earn her no more than basic support - no luxuries.  If her kids are public dependents, why not take them away from her, so that they no longer learn from her bad example?  Another thing - why is she allowing them to grow up thinking it's OK to live a materialist lifestyle at someone else's expense, anyway?  That's just breeding another generation of welfare junkies!

This article encapsulates what's wrong with the 'welfare state'.  It's not just non-judgmental;  it's value-free, or even valueless.  The bureaucracy that doles out benefits to this woman does so as a matter of course, not demanding any sort of improvement or change from her in response - thereby ensuring that the culture that raised her, and tolerated and even rewarded her mistakes and bad choices, will continue for another generation.  The State makes a lousy parent:  and those of us who do have standards, and work hard, and pay our own way, get taxed even more to allow that lousy parent to go on raising more problem children - for which our children will one day have to pay.

Tell me again about how the 'War On Poverty' and the 'Great Society' were supposed to eliminate this sort of thing . . .

There may be some who retort that this woman didn't know enough to avoid making those bad choices.  Uh-huh . . . I accept that her mother was probably just as bad.  What about her grandmother?  Her great-grandmother?  We've permitted, even encouraged, the development of a society where such fecklessness has increased, and grown worse, down successive generations.  I don't necessarily blame this woman for everything;  but she encapsulates in her person the ultimate viciousness of programs that have progressively demeaned and diminished sections of our society until they've become nothing more or less than a permanent underclass.  That's the ultimate fruit of socialism and socialist policies - dragging everyone down to the lowest common denominator, rather than raising them up to the highest common factor.  That's true all over the world, in every single society where such public assistance has been tried.  It's always the same . . . but the powers that be never seem to learn their lesson.



Toejam said...

"It's always the same . . . but the powers that be never seem to learn their lesson."

Liberal's mantra:

Redistribution of the wealth.

Everyone must be equal. Even materially equal.

Rich is bad.

Ya Da, Ya da, Ya Da.

The trouble is this Socialist ideology is like a leech rather than a cobra.

It doesn't kill its prey instantly, but it keeps feeding just enough off of it to keep the prey alive for future feedings.

Anonymous said...

My opinions :

This lady seems pretty much clueless. Like she's wandering around in a daze thinking "Why aren't things working out for me ?".

I gather from the article that she's not deliberately trying to leech the system - to me it seems like she needs a map and a compass.

If the state and fed insist upon giving out money, they should do so on the condition that some basic life lessons must come with it.

Just like a bank won't lend startup money without seeing a decent business plan, it's time for our aid programs to demand some accountability from the recipients.

The tried-and-true "teach a man to fish" approach.

This welfare problem was a couple of generations coming, and it will take a couple of generations to fix, but I think such an approach would start the decline of the welfare system.

Jennifer said...

What a sad story. The system has failed this woman by making her so very dependent.

Shrimp said...

But this is all by design.

The bureaucrats want her to keep making the same bad choices. If she escapes her poverty or has a plan to do so, she is worthless to them. As bureaucrats, they run a system that needs people in the system, or else they are running a system that will go away--ending their jobs!

Ensuring that she continues to stay on the dole is the penultimate priority, exceeded only by busy work for job security.

And, as an added bonus, as long as she (and others like her) can be kept in the continuing cycle of welfare, threats to cut off or reduce such wastefulness can produce the desired voting results. Namely, the woman will vote for anyone with D behind their name, or anyone promising to keep the trough filled.

This is why I object to ANY form of government-run welfare. When the .gov gets involved, spending goes up, help goes down, and the actual results are almost always the opposite of the intended.

When welfare is run by private organizations, they recognize that funds are not unlimited, and getting people out of the system is the goal, because the funds are limited. And what person who is volunteering their time wants to see it wasted on someone who will make no effort to improve their lot in life?

Retired Mustang said...

I'm sorry, but my sympathy is pretty limited. I know a lady who was paralyzed from the waist down, had two small children and was living in her car. Today, she has a significant 6-figure income and walks with the help of a cane. If you ask her "what enabled you to make things better?" she always gives the same answer: "I decided to change".

One of the people from whom I learned a great deal put it this way: "If you will change, everything will change for you". Public assistance will never do for this woman, or anyone else, what a willingness to change herself will do.

trailbee said...

What a shame to have to grow up without the concept of ethics and personal honor. Somebody dropped the ball. No sympathy here, but a healthy dose of irritation.

Anonymous said...

Oddly enough, while Greenwich is a very affluent community, it's right next to Port Chester, New York, which is a mainly low-income or (at best) working-class town. And I really mean right next door; running time on the Metro North railroad between Greenwich and Port Chester is four minutes.

Trivia: Greenwich is one of the world's leading centers, perhaps #2 behind Manhattan, of the hedge fund industry. Port Chester is one of the few cities in the country with a substantial Bolivian population.