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.