If anybody were to read Peter Cove’s very interesting op-ed at RealClearPolicy, I would think it would create quite a stir:
But here are cultural reasons we have become so dependent. First, we have witnessed stigma being replaced by selfishness. There was a time when being on welfare was considered shameful. There was a time when out-of-wedlock births were an embarrassment. Once rewards for not working were ignoble. Now single motherhood is considered a right to be supported by government. Not working now calls for disability payouts to support an otherwise largely employable class. The life of responsibility has become the Life of Riley with most expecting government to be its underwriter in perpetuity.
The second is the liberal notion that every social problem must be met with government spending for new programs. And where has that gotten us? A plethora of unworkable poverty and income support programs that have spent $19 trillion since 1965 has resulted in a de minimis reduction in poverty. With that has come a staggering increase in dependency. And it is this dependency, on medical support, Social Security, and welfare programs, that is pushing us over the fiscal cliff.
Don’t just dismiss him. He puts his money where his mouth is: his job is finding work for welfare recipients and other hard to place workers.
My own complaint is slightly different from his. I think that a lot of our health, education, and welfare apparatus is dedicated to doling out money to people in the top 10% or 20% of income earners who, nominally, work on behalf of the poor. When doctors get paid to treat the poor but the poor don’t get any healthier, is that money well spent? If teachers are paid to teach the children of the poor, but those children aren’t learning anything, do the poor really benefit by it?