there’s no incentive to work! why people stay on welfare (or remain homeless) for years and years… (hint: it’s not ’cause they like being poor)
The real reason is this:
Well, actually, it’s not so simple. I can’t reduce this concept to a sound byte. Sorry, TV watchers. But this is a complex idea and will need to be explained in two blog-writing sessions. I have to go to “work” myself this morning, so I’ll just begin this blog here then continue it later on tonight or tomorrow…
I’ve had yet just another fellow American tell me that safety nets, such as welfare, encourage laziness, that there’s no incentive to work when someone is given everything he/she needs by the government.
This was a very nice person, so I was able to explain my point of view, though not very well, I think, because it is complex. How do I explain a concept that a semester of college work could perhaps barely explain? (Yes, I do think there should be Poverty Studies courses in college. The neo-cons are against this sort of thing. They dislike the liberal arts in general–contains the word “liberal” after all.) But the liberal arts teach us to think about each other, about why we’re all really here on this earth, about morality, about ethics, social responsibility and social injustice. Right now, especially right now, we need to be thinking about those things. For all their talk about “Christian values,” the neo-cons are anti-morality. Their only concern is themselves, their money, their material things, and, yes, their taxes. They don’t like taxes!
Personally, I don’t like poverty and despair. I don’t like human suffering. That to me is a much more serious problem than paying taxes.
But there ya’ go. I’m not a neo-con, neo-liberal, Republic-con, or whatever they call themselves these days.
(Disclaimer: if you’re a Republican, rest assured that I don’t want to hate you. In fact, I’m trying real hard not to hate you. I know that only a few of you are addicted to money, greed, selfishness and mean-spirited, rugged individualism. Most of you just don’t have an understanding of what is really happening in this country. You’ve been misinformed or uninformed. Without an understanding of how governments and societies are formed and have been formed throughout history, how can you learn of what is happening in today’s world? So you turn on that TV set–some call it an “idiot box”–and just hope for the best. Sadly, you make the mistake of turning on Fox News. Naively, you trust the misinformation you’re given as “fair and balanced.” And, being uneducated in history, sociology, and human psychology, how would you know enough to do any different?)
When people say that poor people are lazy and don’t want to work, that safety nets just enable them to not work what they are really saying is that poor people are inferior to rich people and that poor people should not have the right to pursue their own happiness but that only rich people should have that right.
Case in point:
Why is no one attacking rich people for being lazy and not wanting to work? There are many people who were born into wealthy families who do not have to work. Yes, that’s right, they have nothing to do, nothing that they have to do. They don’t have to work because their families are so rich that they can literally live off of their parents’ money and never, ever work a day in their lives. Some of them become very apathetic and bored. They begin spending their money on drugs and alcohol in a desperate attempt to alleviate the tedium by creating some obstacles for themselves. (Poor people drink to forget about the obstacles. The mega-rich drink to create them. Go figure.)
Yet we don’t attack the lazy and irresponsible rich. Why? Because they worked for it, you say? No, I’m talking about people who were born with money, who never worked for it. (I need to repeat myself here and will continue to repeat myself over and over again on these blogs because, sadly, one must repeat one’s self in order to get heard amongst the chaos and shouting in this attention-deficit-disordered, fast-paced age. So I’ll try to make this simple and repeat myself enough times so that, I hope, some people will “get it.”
Point is this: if we value hard work so much (and I’m curious about that too) why do we not attack wealthy people who are lazy and don’t want to work?
(Sadly, I must work and not at what I love to do or am good at. Perhaps one day I’ll earn a living from writing these blogs or from writing in general. However, now I must go to work at a dead-end, low-paying job that will cause me to become homeless again soon because that is the only kind of work I’ve been able to obtain in this Land of Opportunity, the USSA.) So I’ll continue this thought later…
Okay, I’m just going to add this thought before I go. Here’s what I would do if I were collecting welfare and food stamps, if I didn’t have to “work” at a regular job. I’d spend my days working on my writing, writing more blogs, practicing my guitar, making my videos. Yep, I’d be working at the things I do best. Maybe I’d be able to make a positive contribution to society. Maybe I’d be the next Michael Moore and make films that enlighten, educate, that make other people think differently about their society. Oh, I guess that explains why some wealthy, powerful people don’t want people like me to really “work.” They want us to work at low-paying, dead-end jobs that support corporate America. They just don’t want us to work at anything that will better ourselves and our community. And often those are the jobs for which we don’t get paid in money. No one pays me to write these blogs, to make my videos, to produce my music. No one pays me. Not a penny. I don’t even get donations. Perhaps I should solicit for them. But right now I want to be able to speak my mind while I still have the right to do so. Soon the government will send in agents to arrest people like me, to shut us down for good. I already have reason to believe that I’m on some sort of terrorist-wanted list.
But that’s the way it goes…
And I will continue this later…